Church leaders call on Government to provide 100% redress for mica and pyrite families

Roman Catholic and Church of Ireland bishops, and a leading Presbyterian clergyman, have called on the Irish Government to offer full and immediate redress to the thousands of people whose homes have been affected by the mica/pyrite crisis.

A section of the large crowd who attended a protest in Lifford last week calling for 100% redress.
A section of the large crowd who attended a protest in Lifford last week calling for 100% redress.

Numerous family homes have been seriously damaged because defective building blocks were used in their construction. The church leaders said:

“Housing and homelessness are recognised as key political and social justice issues of our time. In this context, immediate action is needed to alleviate the mica/pyrite crisis which is affecting the health, well-being and safety of homeowners and their families. As church leaders, we are gravely concerned at the families’ plight. While many of our impacted citizens live on the periphery of our island, it is disturbing that their basic need for good housing also seems peripheral to the agenda of our political leaders. A number of us have had the opportunity to visit some of the affected homes and heard from campaigners. Our foremost concern now is getting support for these families.

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“There appears to be a disparity in the way people in our region are being treated compared to those elsewhere. Homeowners in Leinster were awarded 100% redress for the pyrite problems there. The citizens of Donegal, Mayo, Sligo, Tipperary, Clare and Limerick deserve no less. This is a matter of fairness, justice and compassion.

“There may come a time for assigning responsibility for what has happened. One thing is certain, though: the homeowners are not to blame.

“The cost of repairing the damage is beyond the means of most families. The mica/pyrite scandal is now a test of our compassion as a society and of the State’s resolve to help its most vulnerable. We must move quickly to end the anguish and uncertainty for all those affected by mica or pyrite in homes that they have bought or built.

“The affected homeowners need three guarantees of support: 100% redress from the government for homeowners; a 40-year, state-backed scheme, guaranteeing full redress in the event of future problems; and the remedy of 100% redress made available to all those affected.

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“We realise there will be significant costs involved, but the State has found resources in the past to rescue the banking sector and, more recently, to deal with the pandemic. The mica and pyrite families need our sympathy, our prayers and our help. They have our full support, as church leaders, in their pursuit of their three demands.

The Church leaders were: Catholic Bishops - Bishop John Fleming, Bishop of Killala; Bishop Donal McKeown, Bishop of Derry; Bishop Kevin Doran, Bishop of Elphin; Bishop Alan McGuckian SJ, Bishop of Raphoe and Bishop Paul Dempsey, Bishop of Achonry

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Church of Ireland Bishops - Rt Rev Patrick Rooke, Church of Ireland Bishop of Tuam, Killala and Achonry; Rt Rev Dr Ferran Glenfield, Church of Ireland Bishop of Elphin and Rt Rev Andrew Forster, Church of Ireland Bishop of Derry and Raphoe

Presbyterian Church: Rev Keith Hibbert, Moderator of Derry & Donegal Presbytery