Details of a compensation plan for thousands of homeowners whose properties have been significantly damaged by mica will only be released “weeks” after the budget.
But Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said the package put in place “will be one of the biggest financial support programs ever announced for anything.”
He told Independent TD Thomas Pringle in the constituency of Donegal, where some 6,000 households are affected, “It is unlikely that a package will be presented to government on this before the budget.” I understand it’s probably in a few more weeks.
But he acknowledged “the anger and frustration many families feel when their homes literally collapse after spending their savings on building them.
“The government will answer this question,” he insisted. They did not yet have the final report from the Minister of Housing, “but we will have it in the coming weeks”.
Mr Pringle said residents of Donegal, Mayo, Clare, Tipperary and other counties affected by mica, the mineral that causes blocks to collapse over time, were furious at the leaks regarding the repair ahead of the publication of the report of the working group on the grant program.
He said “it’s a report of nothing. It is a sham and a rehash of the previous analysis.
And he described as “deceitful bulls ** t” and a public relations stunt, a letter the minister sent to opposition TDs to solicit their views in order to have political consensus on the issue.
Mr Pringle said that “neither he nor the government has shown any interest in any of our ideas. The government has treated the ideas, proposals and suggestions of the opposition on all subjects with a belligerence and contempt which flow from an unfounded confidence bordering on arrogance.
“It was deceitful bulls ** t sending us this letter,” he said, asking if the reparation scheme would be released in the budget next week.
Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl intervened and said that “although people may be angry and frustrated by events, we should try to respect the use of proper parliamentary language”.
Mr Coveney said he understood the anger and frustration of families “who are watching their homes literally collapse after spending their savings building them”.
They will have Mr. O’Brien’s report in the coming weeks. But it is up to the Minister of Housing and the Minister of Public Expenditure and Reform to “decide how we plan this within the framework of the budget”.
He recognized that “we have to do it right and we have to listen to the people.” They had tried to listen and accept different points of view.
Mr Coveney added that Mr Pringle could dismiss the Minister’s letter to opposition TDs “as a public relations exercise if you wish”, but it was a “real effort to try to get an all-party consensus on how we can provide a package of financial support for affected families ”.
He didn’t have an ‘exact date’ “but we will be approving this package in the next few weeks. People won’t have to wait too long to see the details of this package.”