Mica Redress Campaign: ‘The power of the people is bigger than the people in power’ says campaigner

Mica campaigner Paddy Diver has said the Irish government needs to be aware that the ‘power of the people is bigger than the people in power.’

By Laura Glenn
Tuesday, 28th September 2021, 12:20 pm
Paddy Diver, his family and campaigners pictured at the start of a protest in Lifford recently.
Paddy Diver, his family and campaigners pictured at the start of a protest in Lifford recently.

Paddy spoke to the Journal on what is a big week for the campaign with the Defective Working Group document to be finalised on Thursday and handed to Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien.

On Thursday, family representatives from the group met with a small number of representatives from the Department of Housing to provide clarity on the homeowners’ position, which was discussed last week.

Following the meeting, the representatives said it has ‘become clear’ the DOH officials have ‘not moved their position at all’ since July and will not be supporting the call for 100% redress, a State guarantee, inclusion of all homes or a public inquiry.

Eileen Doherty, family representative said this was ‘very disheartening’ but they had been ‘anticipating’ the response.

She added how the decision will ultimately come down to a ‘Government/Cabinet decision’ and Minister O’Brien has agreed to join a call with the working group this week, where they will be ‘asking him to finally right this wrong before it is too late.’

The campaign continues to attract national attention and Paddy is at the forefront of organising another protest in Dublin on October 8 if homeowners’ demands are not put in place. Paddy told how the support the campaign has been receiving across Ireland - North and South - has been ‘mindblowing.’ He described the support from people in Northern Ireland, many of whom have second homes in Donegal, as ‘brilliant’ from the very start.

Paddy urged everyone - ‘men, women and children’ to attend the protest in October, which he ‘hopes will not be needed.’

The final details of the protest, if it goes ahead, will be disclosed very close to the time and an initial meeting point will be confirmed shortly. Paddy said the protest will be an ‘annoying’ one in Dublin, not destructive, ‘and we’ll have to see what way the government is going to go on this.’

Referring to the latest developments from the Department of Housing representatives, Paddy said he left the working group as he feared it was a ‘waste of time’ and lauded Mica Action Group PRO Michael Doherty for ‘knowing there was a plan B needed.’

“He took it upon himself to get all the TDs lined up and saying they support 100% redress. I have to give him massive credit for that, as it was his idea and he followed it through. His plan has worked a treat.”

Paddy said that the TDs now know that ‘if they don’t pull this over the line they should never darken our doors again.’

He told of how people cannot sleep at night due to worry over mica and have had to take sleeping tablets and of children who are crying with worry over where they will live.

“It’s time to fight back - whether you have mica or no mica, to help people’s lives get back in order. We need to show the government that the power of the people is bigger than the people in power. If we show up in Dublin with a couple of thousand people they’ll think we have lost momentum. We need to show up in 10s of thousands, You need to fight for yourself, your family and your neighbour.”

He added: “I hope we don’t have to go. But I’m sick of this government dithering. They’re taking a piece of my soul every time I see a new crack. We need to show that they’re not going to break us and we need to fight back. And we’re leaving no-one behind - there are second homes, business premises and more. Every one of us is in this together.