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*Senator Timmy Dooley engages with the crowd. Photograph: Natasha Barton

Officials within the Department of Housing have been accused of “jiggery pokery” on the pyrite problem that is causing hundreds of homes to crumble across Co Clare.

On Wednesday of last week, Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien (FF) told Clare TD, Joe Carey (FG) that queries from his Department were issued to Clare County Council but no response had been received, “he didn’t anticipate any problems,” Carey said.

Senator Timmy Dooley (FF) said that as of Friday, senior officials in Clare County Council had yet to receive the communication from the Department. CaCathal Crowe TD (FF) detailed that the only correspondence received from the local authority on the matter since June was on costings.

This prompted strong criticism of the Department by Senator Dooley who he felt were “toing and froing” with the drafting of a report on the defective concrete blocks grant scheme, “the Department are playing jiggery pokery with it”. He continued, “I know how Departments can be very positive about doing stuff but they know how to dig their heels in”.

Dr Martina Cleary, founder of the Clare Pyrite Action Group said the officials were living in a false economy, “the longer they drag it out won’t make it any cheaper, every winter that passes the damage will be bigger”.

Much more synchronisation should have occurred between the Department and the local authority, Senator Martin Conway (FG) believed. “It is an awful situation where the Department are saying queries are out but the Council haven’t got them”.

Officials in Clare County Council have invested a lot of time into seeking resolutions for pyrite affected homeowners, Cllr Joe Cooney (FG). He described the Council’s Director of Service, Anne Haugh as “a fantastic woman”. This sentiment was echoed by Mary Hanley, an impacted homeowner from Drumline, “Martina has been working closely with Anne Haugh since the beginning, Anne Haugh has been absolutely fantastic”.

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