*Mary Hanley points to the damage caused by pyrite to her home in Drumline to Minister for Housing, Darragh O’Brien. Photograph: Joe Buckley

AN ENHANCED grant scheme for defective concrete blocks is to open to affected homeowners in the first quarter of next year.

In an update at Tuesday’s meeting of the Social Development SPC, senior executive engineer in Clare County Council’s housing section, Adrian Headd outlined that the enhanced grant scheme “should be open to applications” in the first quarter of 2023.

Once applications are validated, they will be forwarded to the housing agency to determine if it meets the damaged thresholds. If deemed to meet the criteria, homeowners can then engage a “competent building professional” to begin carrying out repairs.

He confirmed that an appeals process will be available and this will be independently assessed. A specific site has been created on gov.ie with a section developed by the Department of Housing to answer questions about the scheme.

Proposals from local authorities will be considered once the initial scheme opens, Adrian advised.

Chair of the SPC, Cllr Gerry Flynn (IND) flagged that homeowners were looking for action and timelines. He said he will be tabling a motion on the matter for the December meeting of Clare County Council.

1,025 homes plus eleven public and private buildings have defective blocks, a study unveiled by Clare Pyrite Action Group in July outlined. Homes are affected in 38 locations across the county including Newmarket-on-Fergus, Ennis, Kilkee, Kilrush, Sixmilebridge, Cratloe, Feakle, Kilkishen, Shannon, Clonlara, Crusheen, Inagh, Miltown Malbay, Doolin, Doonbeg, Fanore, Ennistymon, Quin and Tulla.

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