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mica protest Homeowners hit by mica damage protest as Dáil hears calls for 100pc compensation

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Homeowners affected by mica protest outside Convention Centre in Dublin PIC Gareth Chaney/ Collins Photos Dublin

Homeowners affected by mica protest outside Convention Centre in Dublin PIC Gareth Chaney/ Collins Photos Dublin

Homeowners affected by mica protest outside Convention Centre in Dublin PIC Gareth Chaney/ Collins Photos Dublin

People living in homes destroyed by the mineral mica in faulty blocks are suffering serious stress to their mental health, Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald has told the Dáil.

Ms McDonald was speaking as thousands of homeowners, whose homes are destroyed by the minerals mica and pyrite, gathered in central Dublin from Donegal, Mayo, Clare and other counties.

She said the flaws in thousands of family homes had inflicted untold misery on the families who suffered health and mental problems as a result.

“They go to bed at night wondering will their gable end fall down, or will the chimney on their neighbour’s house fall down,” Ms McDonald said.

The Sinn Féin leader said her party had this evening tabled a motion urging that the Government guarantee 100pc compensation for all these families.

Ms McDonald said the current partial compensation left some families facing a bill of €100,000 or more and these were hardworking people who could not come up with that kind of money.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said he was very aware of the plight of these families and he had seen the problems for himself.

He said an earlier compensation scheme appeared acceptable to all sides including Sinn Féin’s Donegal TD, Pádraig Mac Lochlainn.

This was expected to cost taxpayers up to €1bn – and he personally believed it would now exceed that figure.

He said in the case of Donegal the local council estimated that one third of the homes affected will have to be completely demolished.

“The Government will do everything possible for these families to give them a scheme which will bring back their homes to an acceptable standard as they were,” Mr Martin said.

The Taoiseach accused Ms McDonald of “sloganising” about 100pc cover while the issue was complex and required more study.

Earlier the Government revealed that a working group of Housing Department officials will study the issue now and report back before the end of July.

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Donegal Independent TD Thomas Pringle said his native county was the country’s most beautiful place – but also the most forgotten.

Mr Pringle said his fellow county men and women were in Dublin making their voices heard and he said a compensation scheme in Dublin and Leinster covered 100pc compensation.

“We will not be forgotten and the public is behind us in our claim for 100pc compensation – no less,” Mr Pringle told the Dáil.

Replying the Taoiseach rejected Mr Pringle’s other claim that a recent visit by him to Donegal was purely about generating publicity.

Mr Martin insisted that the families will be helped – including cover for the cost of required engineers’ reports which could cost between €5,000 and €7,000.

Mr Martin said the issues were complex and required a complete study to cover all the potential implications.

The Taoiseach said he had issues about others who “walked away from the problem” including builders, block suppliers, banks and others.

The Taoiseach told Deputy Pringle that this was why he had asked the Attorney General to examine the issues relating to the issues of other parties’ involvement.

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