Northern Ireland news

DUP and SDLP in calls to extend mica redress scheme to holiday homes

DUP MP, Gregory Campbell has called on the Irish government to include holiday home owners in its Mica block redress scheme. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin
Seamus McKinney

The DUP and SDLP have called on the Irish government to reconsider a decision to exclude northern holiday home owners from the mica redress scheme.

An estimated 5,000 homes in Co Donegal are among 7,000 houses that were built with blocks with excessive levels of mineral mica which causes them to crumble on exposure to moisture.

Earlier this week Dublin unveiled a redress scheme for the home owners impacted by the problem. However, the scheme has been criticised over the inclusion of a sliding scale of building cost cover and the decision to exclude holiday home owners in the county.

While the vast majority of Donegal homes are own-occupier, a large number are owned as holiday homes by people from outside the county, the majority believed to be from Northern Ireland.

The failure to include them in the scheme has led to “justified anger”, according to Colum Eastwood who has written to the taoiseach on the matter.

The SDLP leader said: “Houses aren't simply just bricks and mortar. They are homes, and for many, they are retirement plans. The government should review their policy to ensure complete redress for all those homeowners across the north west and to include those with holiday homes affected.

“This has consumed the lives of thousands; urgent change is needed to ensure it doesn't continue to loom large over people's futures.”

East Derry MP Gregory Campbell has also written to Micheál Martin over the redress scheme.

The East Derry MP said:

“While the reported cost of the scheme to the Irish taxpayers at €2.2 billion is considerable, the Irish government needs to outline how many homes fall into the category of being owned by Northern Ireland citizens and should then look at including them in their scheme."

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