Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s assurances to the Mica Action Group that they must be offered equal treatment to pyrite homeowners has been described as a “significant step forward.”
The Taoiseach met with group representatives at the home of Aine and Don Daly, Trillick, Buncrana on Tuesday during his visit to the peninsula.
Speaking to the ‘Journal’ following the meeting, MAG committee member Eileen Doherty said they were “heartened” by the discussion they had with the Taoiseach.
She said: “We were happy with the way the meeting went. Going into it, we would have loved to have had an announcement on redress. The reality was that we always knew it was going to be a big ask. But, we are very happy with the discussion that happened. For the very first time, it was said that we must be offered equal treatment to those offered to pyrite homeowners. That was a massive step forward. Two or three years ago the rhetoric was that this was an issue between the homeowners and suppliers and was nothing to do with government. So, that was a significant step forward. The government stepped in with pyrite and offered redress, as well as accommodation for homeowners while homes were being repaired so it was very heartening to hear that.”
Eileen told how, in the past, the MAG group had criticised the fact that there were “a lot of words” on Mica and they hadn’t seen much action behind the discussion. She said that the difference in Tuesday’s meeting was that the Taoiseach talked about a tangible programme that had been put together by Minister Damien English behind the scenes. This is currently with the legal team and will then have to be approved by Cabinet.
Eileen said: “The fact there’s a proposal behind the scenes means there is genuine activity and that’s heartening.”
She told how the Taoiseach “listened intently” to the discussion and asked “very constructive” questions, such as why registrations were at 900 when it is believed there are at least 5,000 homeowners affected. Eileen said it was explained to him that many people haven’t registered for reasons such as fear, concerns around insurance, among others. MAG presented the Taoiseach with a folder of testimonials, including letters and pictures from affected homeowners, which outlined their current situation. While he was only expected to meet with the homeowner and group for around 15 minutes, he stayed for around an hour with the group, while they explained that government redress is now the only available option left to them.