Paddy spoke to the ‘Journal’ as the pre-published Bill on the Enhanced Defective Concrete Blocks Grant Scheme is expected to go to Cabinet today for approval.
The published Bill is then due on June 21.
Paddy urged the government to ‘do the right thing’ and give homeowners the enhanced scheme that they need, want and campaigned for.
“End this torture and get it right this time,” he said.
“The support people have given to this campaign has been amazing. People across the country and the world have seen us on our knees, telling our stories and showing our houses. It wasn’t easy for people to do.
“The government needs to look at that and see how people came out to do that and the support we have across the world. Everyone knows that families are living in their worst nightmare and everyone hopes they can end this torture.”
Paddy also urged the government to ‘look at the science’ and be aware of issues such as deleterious materials like pyrrhotite, ‘excessive’ paperwork in accessing the scheme, as well as the need to include foundations. He urged them to ‘listen to the public.’
“They speak about the taxpayer etc, but if they would have listened at the start then it wouldn’t be costing them the money it is now.
“They need to listen to the science and the public. Our TDs have shouted in the Dail about this and now we need to see who will shout the loudest. I’m urging everyone to get on to their TDs this week - lift the phone to them - not just in Donegal but in other counties like Limerick and Tipperary. Many other counties across the country are and will be affected by this and whatever Donegal gets, they’re going to get. Everyone needs to be pulling together on this.”
Paddy told how homeowners are ‘very nervous’ ahead of the details of the enhanced scheme being confirmed and added how no-one wants to have to return to ‘campaigning for the sake of campaigning’ if it is not right.
“There’s no way on earth we’ve fought this hard just to lie down and take what they give us, if it’s not going to be right.
“We have been given too many false dawns. Everyone knows what the families have been through.
“The first ‘90-10’ scheme was a disgrace, then we got the sliding scale followed by delays after delays.
“We’ve had 11 delays and that’s very hard on people. It’s like you’re doing a marathon and see the finish line. Then someone pulls that finish line four miles down the road. It’s heartbreaking to see and they have to do the right thing now. Not one government official could look at an affected family and say they have done this or that. Not one family has done anything wrong.”
Paddy highlighted the ‘huge’ amount of work undertaken by campaigners, affected homeowners and representatives and said none of them will be to blame if the scheme ‘isn’t right.’
“If the government doesn’t get it right, they need to remember that all the children affected by this are future voters. I have sons aged 21 and 14 and they are all well clued in to politics. They are future voters. If this isn’t right, it will filter down for generations and they will not vote for the parties when they see the way families were treated. They’ve seen mothers and fathers crying, marriage break-ups and they are never going to forget or forgive these parties if they don’t get the scheme right this time.”
Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien has indicated there will be ‘significant changes’ to the scheme.