Republic of Ireland news

Simon Coveney says Mica redress scheme ‘will be one of the largest ever'

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

Simon Coveney has said a revised mica compensation scheme will be “one of the largest financial support packages ever announced” in Ireland.

The Foreign Affairs Minister, speaking at leaders’ questions in the Dáil today, said he expects a final report on a compensation scheme will be presented to the government by the Housing Minister in a “number of weeks”.

Campaigners want 100% redress for homeowners whose properties were built using defective bricks containing excessive amounts of the mineral mica in Donegal, Mayo and other counties.

Last week a draft report, compiled by a working group set up by Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien, did not recommend 100% redress, as demanded by campaigners.

Campaigners have rejected that conclusion and have rubbished the report.

Mr Coveney told the Dáil, following a question from Donegal TD Thomas Pringle, that there was “equally strong feelings on both sides of the house” regarding mica.

He said the final compensation scheme will be “one of the largest financial support packages ever announced in relation to anything, so we need to get it right and listen to people”.

He described it as “hugely expensive but necessary”.

The Foreign Affairs Minister said he did not believe any redress scheme would be finalised before the Budget next week.

“I don’t have an exact date for you,” Mr Coveney told the Dáil.

He also said that letters from the Housing Minister to opposition politicians, asking for their input and views on how to resolve the mica issue, were a “genuine” effort to achieve consensus.

Mr Pringle called it a “sickeningly transparent PR stunt”.

The current cost to the government for the revised scheme is 1.4 billion euro, according to the working group report.

However, the working group said: “Based on the homeowners’ final submission the estimated costs of the changes requested could rise by 1.8 billion to 3.2 billion euro.”

Over the weekend, Agriculture Minister and Donegal TD Charlie McConalogue said he expected more homeowners impacted by mica to come forward in the months ahead.

Mr Coveney said it would be a matter for Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe to answer how the cost of the mica scheme would be factored into the Budget process.

Mr Pringle accused the government of “kicking the can down the road” and said he backed the families’ rejection of the report.

Affected homeowners are expected to gather in Dublin later this week for another protest calling for 100% redress.

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