The Government has signed off in principle on a grant aid scheme to assess and repair pyrite affected homes in Mayo.
Minister Michael Ring was joined at a cabinet meeting in Government Buildings in Dublin recently by Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, Eoghan Murphy, who reported to ministerial colleagues on the potential scale of a programme to examine homes and to begin work.
Minister Ring said: "I have always been committed to this cause and I am delighted that we have now secured cabinet approval for a scheme. In early September, An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar TD made a commitment to create a state-aided repair scheme.
"The decision at cabinet is living up to that commitment. Work will start immediately on the design of the scheme. It is an exceptional measure.
"There are approximately 350 homes in Mayo which are affected by pyrite. Last year, I visited Geesala with the Minister for Housing and Urban Renewal, Damien English, TD, and Cllr Gerry Coyle, to explore the issue - and I am delighted that we now have resolution on this matter.
"This has been a long road for the many families living with this issue and we hope now that this gives them some peace of mind and assurance.”
Fine Gael Senator, Michelle Mulherin, who has also been a long-term advocate for a repair scheme for homeowners affected in Mayo, was described by Minister of State Michael D'Arcy in the Seanad this week as "determined" in fighting for those whose homes were affected by pyrite issues.
Minister D'Arcy said: "'Determined’ describes her best. She has pursued this issue with a sharp determination and is correct to have done so. The State is intervening to help people affected by this issue. Better standards should have been in place. The Senator deserves much credit for her work on the issue."
Senator Mulherin commented: "The impact on homeowners across Mayo has been devastating and I didn’t hesitate in bringing the matter to the attention of successive Ministers, as well as bringing Minister English and officials from his Department to Mayo to witness the problem for themselves.
"I have left no stone unturned. I ramped up pressure on Minister Murphy and the Minister for Finance, Deputy Paschal Donohue, since the beginning of September when budget preparations were being made.
"The scheme will be finalised before the end of the year, after which funding will be allocated for 2019.
"Pyrite has had a devastating impact on home owners, with house sales falling through, serious structural damage to homes and at least one case of a homeowner being told that there was a serious risk of roof collapse."
Minister Ring said further details of the scheme are to be confirmed by Minister Eoghan Murphy and the Minister for Housing and Urban Development, Damien English, in the coming weeks. He thanked the Ministers for their focus on the matter.
"The people affected by this issue have shown immense patience, determination and fortitude in working with us to secure this resolution.
"I also want to acknowledge Senator Paudie Coffey, who as Minister in the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, set up the expert group to investigate Mica and pyrite issues in Donegal and Mayo," concluded Minister Ring.