14 Aug 2022

Mica Action Group disappointed after President signs off on legislation

International support for Donegal mica campaign

The Remediation of Dwellings Damaged by the Use of Defective Concrete Blocks Bill was signed into effect by the President over the weekend

The Mica Action Group has expressed disappointment that President Higgins has signed the latest defective blocks legislation into law.

The Remediation of Dwellings Damaged by the Use of Defective Concrete Blocks Bill was signed into effect by the President over the weekend.

The €2.7 billion scheme was passed by the Dáil and the Seanad earlier this month.

Mica campaigners say the bill failed to include important amendments they proposed and while it is an improvement on the previous scheme, it will still cost homeowners tens of thousands of euro to have their homes remediated. They say the President missed an opportunity to help mica-affected homeowners by not using his powers to have the legislation examined further.

Michael Doherty, public relations officer with the Mica Action Group, said the President had “rolled over” by signing off on the bill.

He said President Higgins had been praised for speaking out about the Government’s housing policy and could have refused to sign the new defective blocks legislation as he was aware of the government’s attitude to the homeowners.

“They [the Goverment] exhibited foul intent and knowing what we knew, it cannot have been unknown to the President, and it was known to him because I have personally written to him.  He knew the Government’s attitude but he still rolled over and signed it anyway. He  could have had it sent off to have it tested to see if it was at odds with the constitution.”

He said the campaigners now have to ensure that the legislation is properly implemented. The 13 counties where mica committees have been established will form a central committee that will work with the Government on the implementation of the regulations, he said.

“We are not happy with this - it is now an act, not a bill - but we shall have to make sure we don’t lose more ground with the regulations because that’s what turned the old scheme from a 90-10 scheme to a 60-40 scheme. So it has to be watched very carefully because we could lose even more ground during the formation of the regulations and that is an ongoing process.”

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