Republic of Ireland news

Leo Varadkar says he has not seen mica working group report

Protesters during a demonstration outside the Government Buildings in Dublin on June 14 2021 to demand a 100% redress scheme for homes and properties affected by bricks contaminated with mica. Picture by Niall Carson/PA Wire
Dominic McGrath, PA

The Tánaiste has said he has not yet seen the final report from the Government’s mica working group.

Speaking in the Dáil today, Leo Varadkar said that he not yet seen the final report from a working group set up to consider changes to a compensation scheme for those impacted by mica.

Following reports in the Irish media of what the compensation scheme might contain, Sinn Fein’s Pearse Doherty accused the government of showing a lack of “respect” to families impacted by mica.

Mr Doherty was speaking today as a protest took place outside the Dáil to call for a 100% redress scheme for homeowners whose properties were built using defective bricks containing excessive amounts of the mineral mica in Donegal, Mayo and other counties.

“I haven’t seen that report myself,” Mr Varadkar said.

He said that Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien had “thanked the working group for their engagement and involvement in the process of the past few months, in particular, he acknowledged the stress and hardship which affected homeowners face and assured them that enhancements will be made in the scheme”.

The government’s mica working group is expected to submit its final report to Mr O’Brien today.

Mr Varadkar said that he would be considering the working group’s proposals alongside Mr O’Brien, as well as Taoiseach Micheál Martin, Green Party leader Eamon Ryan, Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe and Expenditure Minister Michael McGrath.

He said that the Attorney General would also be consulted, with a memorandum to be brought to Cabinet on the issue in a week’s time.

Yesterday, Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien attended the final meeting of a working group set up to consider changes to a compensation scheme for those impacted by mica.

In a statement, Mr O’Brien said: “The homeowner representatives have submitted a very detailed proposal as to what they wish to see in an enhanced scheme and I would like to thank them for their engagement and proposals.

“I expect to have receipt of the report of the working group tomorrow which I will then consider.”

“As for the next steps, I will, along with the Taoiseach, Tanaiste, Minister Ryan, Minister Donohoe and Minister McGrath, and with input from the Attorney General, consider proposals which can then be presented to Cabinet in a memo.

“I intend to bring this memo to Cabinet in the coming weeks.

“Enhancements to the scheme will be required and will be made with whole of Government approval.

“I will be meeting with and briefing colleagues in Government on this matter over the coming days,” the minister said.

Today Paddy Diver, one of the leaders of the campaign, said that he had no confidence in the housing minister to deliver on his promises.

“I’m not impressed.

“They’re kicking the can down the street all the time,” he said.

“I don’t think Darragh O’Brien cares. He cares more about his image and his hairstyle than he does care about mica.

“He is playing with people’s minds. He told them there’d be an answer at the end of September.

“Now he says the first week of October. Then he said the third week of October. Darragh O’Brien needs to get his act together.”

He called on people to attend a protest organised in Dublin next month.

“We are asking for the support of everybody who knows anyone affected by pyrite and mica.”

Helen McLaughlin, who lives in Dublin but is from Donegal, attended the demonstration outside the Dail.

“I’m from Buncrana originally and I think how this whole mica disaster has played out has just been devastating and we’re here to lend support to our own local community in Buncrana, but also obviously to the wider community beyond Donegal.”

“We really think, taking time to come here today, the Government really has to get something over the line.

“It cannot go on any longer.”

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access

Republic of Ireland news