Calls for quick turnaround as applications open for cladding fund in Northern Ireland

South Belfast MP Claire Hanna has called for a swift turnaround after applications were opened for a £1m fund to remove unsafe cladding material from residential buildings in Northern Ireland.

By Graeme Cousins
Tuesday, 21st September 2021, 4:04 pm
The Grenfell Tower disaster has brought the types of cladding used on high-rise residential blocks under scrutiny
The Grenfell Tower disaster has brought the types of cladding used on high-rise residential blocks under scrutiny

The fund being administered by the Department of Finance on behalf of the Executive is available to management companies acting on behalf of residents in residential buildings over 18 metres in height who would otherwise have an obligation to meet the cost of remove aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding.

Ms Hanna, who has been campaigning on the issue along with residents of Victoria Place, off the Sandy Row, said: “It is through the determination of Victoria Place residents that we have arrived at this stage.

“It is also welcome that the call for evidence has been widened to include residential buildings over 18m that have other types of unsafe non-ACM cladding. “

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She added however that the call for applications cannot be a “never ending exercise”.

She said: “We have a small window of opportunity before the current Assembly mandate comes to an end therefore there is an onus on the Sinn Féin Minister of Finance Conor Murphy to have the measure of the problem quickly and seek approval from the Executive for remedial funding for other affected buildings.

“Many leaseholders are looking at bills in excess of £20,000 and sitting in buildings with B2 ratings, the home should be a place where we feel safest as families and individuals but for those with unsafe cladding on their building this is not the case.

“Minister Murphy must ensure the departmental response meets the magnitude of the problem in the interests of the health and safety and financial security of leaseholders.”

Finance Minister Conor Murphy said: “The Executive is committed to ensuring that residents are afforded the same level of fire safety in all buildings as in other Devolved Administrations.

“This funding is targeted at the highest risk buildings fitted with unsafe ACM.

“It will ensure those impacted are given peace of mind while also being protected from bearing the cost of replacing the unsafe cladding on their homes.”

Further information on the ACM fund including eligibility criteria can be found at www.finance-ni.gov.uk/acm-cladding

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