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18 Jan 2022

'Go back to the drawing board' - Government urged to scrap sliding-scale plan for mica redress scheme

'Go back to the drawing board' - Government urged to scrap sliding-scale plan for mica redress scheme

The average homeowner in Donegal will be forced to find 65,000 euros to make up for shortfalls in the Government’s mica redress scheme, it has been claimed.

Campaigner and homeowner Michael Doherty criticised the sliding-scale method applied to the revised mica redress scheme.

Homeowners will be able to receive 145 euros for the first 1,000sq ft of a property.

Mica homeowners

It will reduce to 110 euros for the second 1,000sq ft, and the remainder will be set at a rate of 100 euros per square foot.

Mr Doherty said the Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien did not raise the sliding scale when they spoke by phone hours before the scheme was publicly announced.

Mr Doherty said the minister’s decision not to mention it was "very deliberate" and "very disingenuous".

"The average family in Donegal, based on 158 applications through the (Donegal) council offices meant that they were going to be 65,000 on average," Mr Doherty added.

"That is unattainable for the families.

Mica homeowners

"Even in the smaller rooms, if we go down to a 1,700 square-foot house, we’re still 30,000 euros short.

"This is life-changing sums of money for people in Donegal."

Sinn Fein TD Pearse Doherty called on the Government to scrap the sliding-scale plan and "go back to the drawing board".

"Donegal County Council has told your government that the tender price that they have received from contractors to demolish and rebuild the first 43 houses is an average 150 euros per square foot," Mr Doherty said.

"The Government’s proposals go nowhere near that. This isn’t 100% redress. It’s nowhere near it.

"So you need to go back to the drawing board."

He welcomed other measures in the redress scheme including costs for renting and storage.

"The point here is that’s no use to families." he added.

Mr Doherty said families would have to pay anything from 45,000 euros to 65,000 euros.

Taoiseach Micheal Martin said the Government had made a "very comprehensive response" to the mica issue.

"The scheme that was announced yesterday by the minister is expansive, an extra 800 million, 2.2 billion of a scheme to deal comprehensively with the issues that were raised by residents." Mr Martin told the Dail.

"Our only objective is to ensure that residents can get their homes rebuilt."

Mr Martin went on to accuse Sinn Fein of "feigning outrage" around the campaign.

"I can see through you, deputy," he added.

“What I want to say to the residents and homeowners is, we’re working on this.

“I want no more delays. I want no more endless campaigning for the sake of the campaigning and exploiting it for political or electoral interest.

"My only interest now is the homeowners."

Fine Gael TD Joe McHugh said: “Yesterday’s announcement certainly didn’t meet people’s expectations, they didn’t meet my expectations.

"But the conversation I’ve had with my colleagues late last night, and I was also in touch with Darragh O’Brien this morning, they have an awareness too that there is a massive issue around this sliding scale."

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