Campaigner calls for ‘big numbers’ at Mica protest

Mica homeowners have been urged to ‘put their shoulders to the wheel’ and let the government know they’re ‘not going away’ as negotiations reach a crucial stage.

By Laura Glenn
Friday, 10th September 2021, 10:45 am
Campaigners pictured outside a hotel in Cavan at the Fianna Fail 'think in'
Campaigners pictured outside a hotel in Cavan at the Fianna Fail 'think in'

Campaigner Paddy Diver made the plea yesterday, Thursday, as a bus full of mica campaigners arrived at a hotel in Cavan where Fianna Fail was having a ‘think in’ and ahead of a protest in Lifford tomorrow, Saturday.

Speaking to the Journal as he travelled to Cavan on the bus, Paddy said he ‘expects big numbers’ for Saturday’s event to show that the campaign’s momentum has not in any way died down.

The national media’s eyes continue to go towards the campaign, none more so than yesterday when over 50 people travelled to the Fianna Fail ‘think in.’ As the Journal went to press, it was understood that Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien had met with the group, as well as Inishowen-based Minister Charlie McConalogue. Paddy addressed An Taoiseach Micheal Martin inside the hotel, where he was flanked by a number of people. Paddy told him that ‘with great power comes great responsibility - please look after the Donegal mica homeowners.’

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Paddy Diver

Paddy told how they decided to travel to the think in and stand outside the hotel and ask TDs and party representatives to speak with them.

“If they have no time for us, we’ll have no time for them in the future. We took down one coachload - 50 people - so that they feel like they can come out and talk.”

Paddy urged everyone to travel to Lifford tomorrow as ‘everyone is going to be looking at us to see how serious we are.’

“I expect big numbers to be there.

“If the government sees that the fire hasn’t gone out, that the same numbers are ready to go to Dublin again and that it’s still burning inside people then it adds to the pressure. If we land in Lifford with 200 or 300 people then they’ll think we’re starting to lose momentum and interest.

“The next two or three weeks are crucial and everyone has a job to do over the three weeks. We need to keep that final push - please get to Lifford.”

The family representatives of the Mica/Defective Blocks Working Group is set to present its position paper imminently, before officials report back to government with a recommended plan.

Paddy said the group ‘does not need to talk about anything more, it has crossed its ts and dotted its is and the ball is in the government’s court.”

“I was in Letterkenny with the local representatives of the working group at the weekend and I cannot praise them enough,” he said.

“What they’ve come up with, with the professional help, cannot be underestimated.”

Paddy said the document will be made public in due course.

He reiterated how the next few weeks are ‘really important’.

“I hope this government realises that people’s mental health is reliant on 100%,” he said.

“It’s not about who will lose and win, it’s about giving people what they deserve - fix the houses and let people get on with their lives. There are a lot of people relying on this and they are not fit to cope with a bad answer. Mental health is a massive thing and people are relying on 100%.”

Paddy asked that everyone now ‘puts their shoulder to the wheel and put pressure on the government.’

The demo at Lifford begins at 1.30pm, although people are asked to be there early and Paddy promises everyone will be home before the All Ireland final.

Meanwhile, Labour leader Alan Kelly yesterday met with Mica Action Group representatives and Councillor Martin McDermott where he pledged the party’s support for 100% redress.