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Simon Coveney during Leaders' Questions today.
defective blocks

Mica redress package will be 'one of the biggest ever announced in relation to anything'

Minister Simon Coveney said however that it will not be ready before the Budget.

THE GOVERNMENT HAS said the support package being prepared for families affected by the mica crisis will be “one of the largest ever” but is “unlikely” to be ready before the Budget. 

Last week, a report into homes affected by defective mica blocs found that a remediation scheme for impacted property owners could cost up to €3.2 billion.

The report is set to be examined by the Housing Minister before a proposal is brought to Cabinet for approval.

Speaking during Leaders’ Questions today, Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney said that this will happen “in the coming weeks” but not before next week’s Budget. 

“We have gone through a process here as a government, many ministers have visited Donegal and indeed other counties that are impacted by mica and believe that the Housing Minister is taking this incredibly seriously,” he said today.

I think that the financial package that will be put together by and approved by government in time will be one of the largest financial support packages ever announced in relation to anything. So we need to get it right.

He added: “My understanding is that it’s probably a few weeks away yet but I can assure you that this is something that the government has committed to dealing with head on, working with families and communities on and with opposition parties.”

Coveney was speaking in response to Independent Donegal TD Thomas Pringle, who criticised the report that was sent last week by the mica working group. 

The working group included department officials, affected homeowners and local authority representatives but some of the homeowners have said their views were not adequately taken on board in the report

The report itself puts forward a number of potential improvements “for consideration” by the government but does not formally recommended them. 

Speaking about this, Pringle said the report should have included recommendations and that without them it was, “just another disingenuous, can-kicking exercise, disrespectful to my constituents in Donegal.”

The report did not put forward for consideration that affected homeowners who have to demolish and rebuild their homes get 100% compensation. 

Pringle also criticised a letter sent by Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien to opposition spokespeople last night in which the minister said he wanted to “help form a political consensus on the matter involved”. 

Pringle said it was “disingenuous bullshit” by the minister to send this letter because the government treated opposition suggestions “with belligerence and contempt” during the Covid-19 crisis. 

Addressing this letter, Coveney said it was “a genuine effort to try to get all party consensus in terms of how we can provide a financial support package here for families involved.”

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