Decision on mica scheme may not be made by end of October, junior minister says

A draft report did not recommend 100% redress, as demanded by campaigners.

THERE MAY NOT be a decision on a mica compensation scheme by the end of the month, a Fine Gael minister has said.

Peter Burke, a junior minister in the Department of Housing, said on Sunday he could not say for certain whether mica-affected homeowners would have an answer from the Government on a revised redress scheme by the end of October.

Earlier this week, a draft report, compiled by a working group set up by Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien, did not recommend 100% redress, as demanded by campaigners.

Campaigners want 100% redress for homeowners whose properties were built using defective bricks containing excessive amounts of the mineral mica in Donegal, Mayo and other counties.

The report, shared with homeowners late on Thursday night, suggests a revised scheme will not cover 100% of the cost when a mica-affected property needs to be demolished and rebuilt.

“We’re on the one side. We set out a process to resolve this. There is no point taking cheap political shots,” Burke said today.

“All these things have to be discussed.”

2.49967084 Peter Burke TD said a process to resolve the issue had been set out.

He said the coalition Government’s three party leaders, as well as Mr O’Brien and the Attorney General, would discuss the shape of an improved compensation scheme over the coming weeks.

Asked on RTÉ’s The Week in Politics programme about whether homeowners would have an answer by the end of October, Burke said: “I can’t say for sure by the end of the month.”

Taoiseach Micheál Martin, during a visit to Rosslare Port on Friday, told reporters a decision will be made in the coming weeks.

The current cost to the Government for the revised scheme is 1.4 billion euros, according to the report.

However, the working group said: “Based on the homeowners’ final submission the estimated costs of the changes requested could rise by 1.8 billion to 3.2 billion euro.”

In cases where a property can be fixed without demolition, a 100% grant will be provided for “remediation options”.

Martin said he was told by the housing minister the “report is made up of the submissions made by the working groups and a record of meetings. It’s not the final report that will come to us and certainly to the three party leaders and to Cabinet”.

Homeowners have criticised the working group report, calling it “vague” and “lacking depth”.

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