Councillors call for 100 per cent funding for pyrite cases

Cllr Seamus Weir

Cllr Seamus Weir

The elected members of Ballina Municipal District have called for the Government to change the current pyrite redress scheme for householders affected by the issue, from 90 per cent funding for repairs to 100 per cent.

The North Mayo Pyrite Group will be holding demonstrations tomorrow, Saturday, May 22, at a number of locations around the Ballina area at Sligo Road, Killala Road, Bonniconlon Road, Foxford Road and Crossmolina Road at 2pm.

The issue was raised this week at the May meeting of the Ballina Municipal District, where councillors backed a call for 100 per cent funding for those affected by the issue.

Raising the matter, Independent councillor Seamus Weir told the meeting: "The pyrite and the situation there, obviously there is a reaction from local people, God forbid anyone has to deal with this in their houses - it is absolutely atrocious. There are homes destroyed with this Pyrite and no blame to officials or anything.

"It is a situation where people are devastated and I have got calls on this and I know people involved in it. I am nearly embarrassed to ask them about their property - there is a protest coming up at the weekend.

"I find it extraordinary that they are saying that 100 per cent of costs is covered if you are from the Dublin area and if you're from the north west, I think it is 90 per cent. How come the state can decide on one part of country getting 100 per cent and if you're down from the west side, it is only 90 per cent? To find ten per cent and to knock your house, it is extraordinary."

Council officials confirmed that they are implementing a scheme that was put in place by the government and they have no discretion on it. Director of Services for Mayo County Council, Tom Gilligan, told the meeting: "This was agreed nationally and there was a lot of consultation before this was signed off at the time by the then Minister for Housing, Eoghan Murphy. But it is 90 per cent and there are five options for people who are affected by it, from total demolition - which is primarily outer relief. It is not just ourselves, it is between ourselves and Donegal - where they have a serious issue with Mica; we don't have any discretion of it, we have to apply for it as it is."

When asked by Cllr Weir was he aware that in other areas it was 100 per cent funding for the people affected, Mr Gilligan said: "I am indeed, but as I say, the statutory instrument was signed and we are complying with that scheme and working within the parameters of that."

Independent councillor Mark Dufy gave his backing to the call for 100 per cent funding, saying: "Just to reiterate what was said, I know they are national directives, but we need to have our voices clear and call on the government to change it to 100 per cent redress to help these families.

"The redress is not fit for purpose; not only is it just 90 per cent - but also the SEAI (Sustainable Energy Authority Of Ireland ) have a lot to answer for. If your home is falling down around you now and you built your house in 2005, they expect you to take out the windows and doors and replace them again and build your home to a standard and then go looking for grants after that; it is bananas stuff.

"The same for the banking institutes; families are going to have to move out of their homes and have to rent somewhere else and then pay a mortgage on top of that, on a house that has been knocked down and turned to dust; there is an awful lot to be answered for."

The call for full redress for those affected was also backed by other councillors, with Cllr John O'Hara (FG ) and Cllr Annie May Reape (FF ) indicating their support.

Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald also made a call for the government to change the terms of the scheme, when she called on Taoiseach Michéal Martin to make the Defective Concrete Blocks Grant Scheme 100% fully-funded in the Dáil this week.

 

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