By Dionne Meehan
DONEGAL minister Charlie McConalogue said he will go into the next elections believing he has “delivered” in a “serious way”.
The Fianna Fáil politician has served as Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine since September 2020.
With local elections set to take place next year likely to be followed by general elections, Minister McConalogue said he will go into them with the “record” he has.
Describing the past three years as being “unprecedentedly challenging”, he said Mica has been the biggest challenge of its time.
“It has been a really difficult road for every family involved.
“It is something we worked hard as a government and even as a party to rectify the scheme that was there before and to get the new scheme up and running.
“That was a torturous process and torturous most of all for all the families concerned who have been waiting for a long time. It was much too slow but we got there and we delivered it,” he said.
Addressing the key issues and problems of the “flawed” scheme, Minister McConalogue said he is confident those engaging with the new scheme will find it “a very strong scheme”.
“The previous scheme had a cap of €65,000, this scheme has a cap of €420,000. It is based on the building costs of today which we were advised on by chartered surveyors independently and that will update every year,” he said.
Despite the process being difficult to deliver, Minister McConalogue said he believes the scheme will stand the test of time.
“I believe as people get onto it they will get the benefit of it and also I believe it is a scheme which will adjust as the years go on to make sure it meets the needs as we move forward,” he said.
With around 50 houses currently finished in the county so far, Minister McConalogue said there are a further 50 houses underway.
With a further 850 houses approved by Donegal County Council who are now transitioning onto the new scheme, the Minister said that as more people engage, the strength of the scheme will come to be shown.
This week the Minister dismissed speculation that he is tipped for an EU Commissioner role. He described suggestions linking him with the role as ‘idle speculation’.
Looking forward to the next election, Minister McConalogue said he will go into it wanting another mandate and wanting to keep delivering.
“I believe I have delivered in a serious way but the public will decide on all that come election time,” he said.