DERRY JOURNAL Editorial : MICA homeowners deserve no less than 100%
The sheer scale of the demonstrations in Buncrana and Letterkenny at the weekend shows how the Mica Redress campaign has galvanised not just the thousands of families and individuals directly affected but also the wider community in Donegal and beyond.
Over 10,000 people gathered along the shorefront of the Inishowen seaside town of Buncrana alone - more than three times its population - on Saturday to send a message loud and clear that nothing less than 100% redress from the government will be acceptable.
The stories of families forced to live in, and pay mortgages and bills for, homes which are becoming, or have already become, unsafe and uninhabitable have been heartbreaking.
Those who have spearheaded the campaign over the years and who secured the 90% Redress had a huge job on their hands and they did an outstanding job in bringing the issue on the national stage and in bringing it to this point.
As the details of the government scheme have become clear however, and as some of these same long-standing campaigners have themselves pointed out, it now appears to be insufficient in terms of enabling many homeowners to get their homes fixed. Indeed many of those affected will have ploughed their life savings into their homes and a lot of people have no money for the 10% they are being told to contribute. Those families have also spoken of difficulties in securing loans and others of how the cap on funding needs to be lifted if they are to stand any chance of a resolution to the crisis they are facing.
The bill to get the homes inspected meanwhile is also proving prohibitive as the cost is not guaranteed under the scheme, while the worry about where people will go if and when work gets under way and how those costs will be covered is adding further stress.
This is an atrocious situation for anyone to find themselves in, whether that is someone with a young family, a pensioner, a couple or a single person living on their own, or for someone with a holiday home in Donegal, as their second homes are not even covered under the current scheme.
The strength of feeling on this matter is not going to go away. It is time for the government in Dublin to re-examine the scheme, fix the flaws and give the people they serve in Donegal some much needed peace of mind and hope for a safe and secure future.