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Mica redress

Tax or levy to pay for new Mica redress scheme under consideration by government

It is believed that a cap of approximately €400,000 per home will ultimately be agreed upon.

AN ENHANCED SCHEME for homeowners affected by the Mica controversy is set to go to Cabinet the week after next, with a possible new redress cap of up to €400,000 per home.

Government sources are keen to stress that there has been no agreement, stating that discussions are still underway. 

Campaigners want a scheme to help families whose homes have been destroyed or damaged by mica, a mineral that can absorb water, due to building blocks cracking and crumbling.

The Government has faced criticism for only offering 90% under the current redress scheme, leaving property owners with significant bills to repair or rebuild homes.

Campaigners have blamed a lack of building regulations and oversight of materials.

It is believed that a cap of approximately €400,000 will ultimately be agreed upon.

The sticking point in government now is how the redress scheme will be paid for, with sources stating that Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe is concerned about the overall costs.

Donohoe is understood to have a “hit list” of areas where a possible levy, tax or charge will be applied to pay for the compensation scheme, which could reach €3.2 billion in total.

“Ultimately we will have to pay for it all directly or indirectly,” said one source who indicated that there will be a need for a levy, tax or charge to help pay for the redress scheme. 

It is understood that the view of government is that the “many will pay for the few”, but that this has to be done in order to have a humanitarian response to the crisis the families find themselves in. 

The thinking in government circles is the bill of around €3.2 billion is “too big” to find the money from elsewhere.

Sources state that there is a need to re-establish the idea that things have to be paid for, particularly with the fiscal emergency measures for Covid coming to an end.

An estimated 5,000 homes in Co Donegal are affected by defective bricks, with thousands more understood to be in counties Sligo, Clare and Limerick.

As the discussions around 100% redress continue, it is understood there is concern that general public might think a flat €400,000 per home might be “too much”, given the scale of a home that could be built in Donegal and other counties for that sum of money. 

It’s understood that one solution being discussed might be a limit on the square footage of a new-build under the scheme.

The three coalition party leaders are keen to find a solution that will be acceptable to most people even if it’s not acceptable to everyone, it is understood. 

Fine Gael’s Joe McHugh has warned that he is willing to walk away from the party if the government presents a “half-baked” mica redress scheme.

Speaking to Highland, McHugh said he realised there would be “consequences” if he refused to support to Government’s new redress scheme. 

“I won’t be standing over a scheme that proved in the past to be a scheme that was half-baked,” he said.

“If we don’t get that right, I won’t be supporting that scheme. Obviously, that has consequences for me.”

The Taoiseach told Today FM this morning that “when government signs off and makes a decision on this, it will be a very comprehensive solution for people”.

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