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04 Jul 2022

Joe McHugh says defective blocks Bill needs changes

Donegal's Joe McHugh promoted to Minister for Education and Skills in Government reshuffle

Donegal TD Joe McHugh has said the Bill as it stands does need amendments and there are a number of elements that need to be changed

Donegal TD Joe McHugh has said elements of the latest defective blocks redress scheme need to be changed before it is finalised.

The latest Bill begins its legislative journey on Thursday when it will be presented for a compressed one-day pre-legislative scrutiny session in front of the Oireachtas housing committee. It will then come before the Seanad and the Dáil and is expected to be presented for final approval next month.

Mr McHugh had threatened to leave Fine Gael over the controversial sliding scale element of the legislation which has since been scrapped.

“If the sliding scale had stayed I would not have been able to stand over the legislation,” he said.

He said the Bill as it stands does need amendments and there are a number of elements that need to be changed.

Mr McHugh, who has announced he will not be standing at the next general election, said he will not decide how he will vote on the new legislation until it reaches the final stage.

“There is a long way to go and the minister [Darragh O’Brien] is open to changes, so let's see what he is open to.”

Homeowners want a scheme started as soon as possible, he said.

“I am very clear that it is important that we need to get a scheme started - it is as simple as that we need to get a scheme started and I have spoken to a lot of people over the weekend and they want a scheme.

“The legalisation is not finalised. So we’ll have to wait to see it as it is open to change.” 

There are “a number of issues,” he said, including the need for flexibility around allowing homeowners to downsize their property.

“I am engaging with the Mica Action Group and going back to my own party about where the concerns and reservations are. It is an ongoing process,” he said.

“We’ll see what happens as it progresses through both houses and I will be looking at it very very closely and hoping that the minister can see where his opportunities are to make the relevant changes. Let's have an open mind.

  “There are still a number of weaknesses in the memo but I think the minister has indicated that he is not taking it as a final done deal and he is open to suggestions and redirection if that is the case.”





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