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03 Jul 2022

Warning issued to TDs over mica scheme

Mica redress campaigners demonstrate outside of Dáil as concerns remain

Special council meeting on Donegal's mica crisis this Friday

Campaigners say they have ruled nothing out in their efforts to achieve a scheme that meets their demands.

Mica campaigners say they are prepared to target Government TDs in elections and picket their offices as the latest redress bill approaches a crucial stage.  

Campaigners say they have ruled nothing out in their efforts to achieve a scheme that meets their demands and have expressed concern that the latest Bill will still leave homeowners facing unacceptable costs.

Housing minister Darragh O’Brien received Cabinet approval on Tuesday to publish the legislation for the €2.7billion scheme. 

The Bill is due to go before the Oireachtas housing committee on Thursday for accelerated pre-legislative scrutiny.

Homeowners have expressed frustration that the Bill that came before the Cabinet fell short on some of their demands and have warned that they will take whatever action is necessary including campaigning outside the offices of Government TDs.

Mica campaigners have been protesting outside the Dáil in recent days and are warning that action will be intensified if an acceptable redress scheme does not pass through the Oireachtas next month. 

Mica campaigner Paddy Diver called on the public to put pressure on their TDs if they are not happy with the scheme.

“We have not come this far just to come this far,” he said.

 “We need to think what another plan is and what people are thinking of if this is not good enough. Will we be going back to Dublin again?”

Michael Doherty of the Mica Action Group said the Bill that had come before the Cabinet last week was “not very different to what was announced in November last year”.

He said it was frustrating that much of what the homeowners had proposed was not in the final document that went before Cabinet last week.

While the controversial sliding scale of rates per square metre has been done away with, he said the cap on the grant for rebuilding needs to be increased from €420,000 to €460,000 to account for inflation.

Following the pre-legislative scrutiny, the bill will make its way through the Oireachtas.

Mr Doherty said the pace that the Government is tackling the issues “is absolutely out of kilter with the size of the problem”.

He said it will be down to the Government “to do the right thing” and produce a bill that is acceptable to homeowners. Anything less will warrant a change of Government, he said.  

He said the bill that emerges from the Oireachtas will have “massive implications for the local TDs in each of the affected counties” and called on Government TDs “to do the right thing” and vote against the Government if the Bill is not to the satisfaction of homeowners.

TDs who support a bill that does not meet the homeowner demands will  “will have to face the wrath of the people”, he said.

“We will be calling TDs and looking at pickets outside their office doors in the constituency areas. We will be targeting these TDs to say either you are a hero or  a traitor - are you standing  by your people or are you going to turn your back on the people?” 

“We will be keeping it to the fore. Whatever is needed, we will not be found wanting to get the point across, whatever that requires.”

He warned that the campaigners are still prepared to target seats in the next general election. 

“There is nothing off the table as far as we are concerned. We will run candidates if we think the opposition is not manning up. None of us went into this to go into politics - we are affected homeowners.

“But if we find that we have to contest anyone’s seat that is not putting their shoulder to the wheel to help us this time around to get it right - be it any party or independent - we will target wherever we need to target to ensure that they are on point. If they don't want to do that…we have to look at how to secure the seat ourselves.”

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