Mica redress scheme takes two years to pay only 14 of nearly 1,200 applicants in full

Mica redress scheme takes two years to pay only 14 of nearly 1,200 applicants in full

The structural damage in a mica-affected home in Co. Donegal. Picture: Niall Carson/PA

Only 14 homeowners in Donegal have received full payment for remediation works under the defective concrete blocks scheme while none of the applicants from Co. Mayo have yet been fully compensated. 

There have been a total of 1,194 applications for redress under the mica scheme in both counties but only around half of these have completed the first stage of the process, the purpose of which is to confirm eligibility, according to the Department of Housing.

The scheme, to pay for remediation due to mica or pyrite damage in concrete blocks, is being administered by Donegal and Mayo county councils and has been in operation for two years. 

It provides for a grant of up to 90% of the work to a maximum of €247,500 but is due to be replaced by a wider scheme which was passed into law last July.

In his budget speech, Paschal Donohoe said that a 10% levy would be applied to concrete products from next year to contribute toward the estimated €2.7bn cost of the remediation scheme. 

However, the figures released show that the scheme so far is progressing at a very slow pace.

Most of the applicants which are stuck at stage one of the process are understood to have obtained engineers' reports recommending the demolition of their homes but the statutory instrument underpinning the scheme does not allow for full demolition. 

Other defective buildings

The allocation of payments was contained in a series of parliamentary questions asked by Sinn Féin’s Eoin Ó Broin. The department also revealed that just over €10m has so far been drawn down by the two local authorities in this scheme.

Speaking in the Dáil, Mr Ó Broin criticised the slow pace of the remediation scheme and asked that the scheduled scheme to compensate homeowners with Celtic Tiger defects be set up as soon as possible. 

A report by an expert group published in July recommended the setting up of a remediation scheme for “homeowners and tenants living in Celtic Tiger-era defective buildings can’t wait until 2024. Many are facing bills of between €20,000 and €70,000 for remediation". 

“If they do not undertake this work their insurance premia will rise or their cover will be withdrawn. Some may face enforcement by fire safety officials. In other cases, developments may delay work while waiting for details of the scheme."

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