It is unfair for Irish government to use the border to exclude Northern Ireland citizens from mica redress says DUP MP Gregory Campbell
DUP MP Gregory Campbell has written to the Irish PM to ask if similar financial arrangements will be put in place for Northern Ireland citizens who own homes affected by the mica scandal.
The Irish government has announcing a financial package to assist homeowners in Donegal, Mayo, Sligo and Clare whose recently-built properties have crumbled due to the presence of the mineral mica.
Mr Campbell is concerned people from Northern Ireland who own second homes in Donegal are not included in the redress scheme.
He said: “The announcement by the Irish government of a financial package to assist those homeowners who have suffered as a result of the mica scandal is obviously a matter for that government as it affects their citizens, but there is an issue about citizens of Northern Ireland who own homes that are also affected.
“It appears that people from NI who own properties as second homes are not included in the scheme. While the reported cost of the scheme to the Irish taxpayers at 2.2 billion euro is considerable, the Irish government needs to outline how many homes fall into the category of being owned by Northern Ireland citizens as second homes and should then look at including them in their scheme.
“For a government who regularly and inaccurately tell the European Union about no borders on the island, it would be ironic if that same government tried to use the border as a reason to exclude.
“If reports are accurate of approximately 7,000 homes being affected, the Irish authorities need to outline how many of those do not stand to benefit from their scheme by their exclusion.”
Campaigner and homeowner Michael Doherty was critical of the sliding-scale method applied to the revised mica redress scheme.
He claimed the average homeowner in Donegal will be forced to find 65,000 euros to make up for shortfalls in the Government’s mica redress scheme, it has been claimed.
Mr Doherty said: “That is unattainable for the families. This is life-changing sums of money for people in Donegal.”
Sinn Fein TD Pearse Doherty called on the Government to scrap the sliding-scale plan and “go back to the drawing board”.
Taoiseach Micheal Martin said the Government had made a “very comprehensive response” to the mica issue.
“The scheme that was announced by the minister is expansive, an extra 800 million, 2.2 billion of a scheme to deal comprehensively with the issues that were raised by residents,” Mr Martin told the Dail.
“Our only objective is to ensure that residents can get their homes rebuilt.”
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