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Not 'rite Mayo residents whose homes are crumbling due to pyrite slam 'second-class' compensation scheme

Unlike residents in Dublin and along the East Coast, where 100pc of the cost of repairs was met by a Government-funded scheme, residents in Mayo are being told only 90pc of their costs will be met

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Denis O'Boyle looks at the damage

Denis O'Boyle looks at the damage

Denis O'Boyle

Denis O'Boyle

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Denis O'Boyle looks at the damage

Families in Mayo whose homes are crumbling due to pyrite contamination have accused the Government of treating them like second-class citizens.

Pyrite contamination has now been detected across properties in Ballina, Foxford, Crossmolina, Killala, Castlebar and Westport, as well as in Enniscrone, in Co. Sligo.

The majority of the impacted properties are understood to have been constructed between 2000 and 2006 and in most instances the contaminated materials appear to have been sourced from the one supplier.

But unlike residents in Dublin and along the East Coast, where 100 per cent of the cost of repairs was met by a Government-funded scheme, residents in Mayo are being told only 90 per cent of their costs will be met - and additional costs such as accommodation during rebuild will have to be footed by the homeowner.

Residents in Mayo, who have formed a pyrite action group, are now pooling their resources in calling for an overhaul of the scheme with residents in Donegal whose properties have been similarly affect by mica contamination.

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Homes are crumbling due to pyrite contamination

Homes are crumbling due to pyrite contamination

Homes are crumbling due to pyrite contamination

"All we're asking for is a bit of fairness," said father-of-two Denis O'Boyle whose 21-year-old home in the parish of Kilfian is literally coming apart in front of his eyes.

"We want the same treatment and scheme that people affected in Dublin and on the East coast were given," he said.

"Why should we be treated badly just because we live in Mayo and Donegal?

"All we want is the same deal.

"The people there were given accommodation while their houses were fixed.

"They were covered for 100 per cent of their costs.

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"It's not on for the Government to treat us as second-class citizens."

Speaking of the situation regarding his own home, Denis said he and his wife Ann built their house in 2000.

"It's a standalone house out in country," he said.

"I built on my father's farm.

"It was about 2007 that the cracks started appearing and then gradually it got worse and worse until it is the way it is now.

"Around here, they tell me this is probably one of the worst houses in this part of the county.

"The two gables are cracked.

"Three of the corners are very bad… you could fit your fingers in the cracks.

"The walls are bulging out… they've pulled away from the windows in places.

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Denis O'Boyle: Picture: John O'Grady.

Denis O'Boyle: Picture: John O'Grady.

Denis O'Boyle: Picture: John O'Grady.

"One of the window reveals has fallen off.

"And last winter, when we had the real bad weather, the water was coming down inside the window.

"It was literally running down inside the house."

Asked about the financial impact, Denis said he and his wife took out a mortgage of IR£60,000 to build the house in 2000 and then spent another IR£40,000 on it a few years later to extend it and finish the upstairs.

The six-bedroom house should be the family's pride and joy.

Instead it is crumbling before their eyes.

"We were told not to put any more money into it," he says.

"They said any money we put in would be a waste.

"So everyday when we come home, we see these cracks and how the house is just getting worse and worse.

"I spent years talking with the supplier but nothing ever happened.

"With the scheme the way it is now, I'm going to have to come up with €60,000 or €70,000, on top of what they put in, to get this fixed.

"And that's if I'm lucky because that mightn't even cover it.

"You might have to spend another €10,000 on accommodation while it's being fixed.

"They say we're supposed to use the same windows and doors from the original house.

"But some of our windows are warped because of what happened to the walls and that's not covered.

"It just doesn't make sense. It seems ridiculous to me.

"We have to tape the windows at night to keep out the wind and rain.

"How can you put those back in if it's rebuilt?"

The North Mayo Pyrite Group is set to stage a protest outside the Dáil on June 15 alongside residents from Donegal affected by mica contamination.

Group administrator Barbara Clinton told the Sunday World that residents affected will settle for nothing less than 100 per cent redress as the current scheme is 'simply not fit for purpose.

"There were government regulations put in place to monitor the manufacture of blocks since 1949," she said.

"It is not the homeowners' fault that the state bodies failed to police those regulations.

"We homeowners and business owners are the ones who are now paying the price financially and with our physical and mental health.

"The current scheme does not work for the majority of homeowners in our two counties.

"It is defective like our blocks."

Anyone who wants to support the homeowners can make contact through the North Mayo Pyrite Group on their Facebook page.

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