Post grants should be set up for some mica-affected homeowners, the housing committee hears

Homeowners with mica-affected homes who have had to demolish and completely rebuild their homes should be eligible for retrospective grants, according to Dáil’s Housing Committee.

The Dáil will today hear debates over the new Glimmer redress scheme, which has grants of up to €420,000 and could cost the state more than €3bn.

The Oireachtas Housing Committee has called on Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien to compensate people who have had to tear down and rebuild their homes “in the absence of a grants scheme”.

In a letter to Mr O’Brien, TDs and Senators also say homeowners who build a smaller home on the same site after demolishing a mica-hit home shouldn’t have their grants reduced.

Chairman Steven Matthews writes that the committee is “concerned” that “rigid application of the harm threshold could result in affected homeowners being unfairly excluded from the scheme”.

The minister should consider changing the mica system so that the damage threshold is “flexible and relevant” for different types of damage caused by mica or other minerals across the country.

This “damage threshold” should then be used “as a means of prioritizing suitable applicants”, according to the minister.

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Housing Secretary Darragh O’Brien. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins Dublin

The housing committee held a six-hour meeting to consider the new mica plan as the government hopes to pass legislation and receive grants before the summer.

Groups representing homeowners with mica-affected blocks told the committee their homes’ foundations would not be included in the grants program, and the committee is now pushing for grants to include the cost of rebuilding foundations.

Homeowners who receive grants should also not lose any part of their entitlement if that part of the grant “would make up the cost difference between their renovation grant and the full cost of a similar renovation/replacement”.

An Appellate Body set up under the program should also be “completely independent” from county and city councils, the Housing Agency and the Housing Ministry, according to the committee, to “ensure its decisions enjoy the full confidence of the public”.

The committee also heard from an engineer that there are still “bad apples” in the quarrying industry that still produce mica-laced concrete blocks.

https://www.independent.ie/news/retrospective-grants-should-be-put-in-place-for-some-mica-affected-homeowners-housing-committee-hears-41818606.html Post grants should be set up for some mica-affected homeowners, the housing committee hears

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