*Minister Darragh O’Brien addresses members of the Clare Pyrite Action Group. Photograph: Joe Buckley

Homeowners in Clare affected by the presence of defective concrete blocks in their homes will know within “a matter of weeks” if they are eligible for inclusion on a redress scheme.

Currently the Clare Pyrite Action Group has 72 members who say their house is infected by pyrite, on top of this two housing estates constructed by Clare County Council and two prominent buildings in the county are also impacted while it is believed that hundreds of houses in Clare, at least have pyrite.

On July 29th, the County Council submitted an application to the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage to extend the Defective Concrete Blocks Scheme to Clare.

Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD (FF) during an official visit to the county outlined his aspirations to proceed with the application. “We’re assessing it like the applications that would have come in for Mayo and Donegal, we’re not dragging our feet on it, I’ve assured the group of that. We want to bring the review of the submission to conclusion as soon as we can, there is no budgetary issue of that and I assured the group of that too. As long as the criteria is met, I don’t see any issue, I’m here to help the homeowners”.

He met with Dr Martina Cleary, Mary Hanley and Michelle Mansfield of the Clare Pyrite Action Group on Friday morning while later visiting the home of Ms Hanley in Drumline that day. “I’m focused on concluding the work within the Department to give certainty to homeowners in this region and we will do that, then it is a matter of going to ensure work is scheduled for people, there is no budgetary issue with regard to Clare”.

Sufficient funds exist within the Department, Minister O’Brien stated. “I don’t know what it will cost until the submission goes through but we’ve sufficient funds for this year and will have sufficient funds for next year. When I was in Donegal last year and met with homeowners, the original defective block scheme was launched before I took over as Minister, but when I was in Donegal I committed to a multi-annual scheme and it will be, it will also be referenced very strongly in the Housing for All Housing Plan that is going to be published next week”.

Affected homeowners previously spoke to The Clare Echo of their fear about becoming “homeless pensioners”. The Minister said he has no intention of letting this occur. “One thing that might be a small advantage is I’ve quite a depth of knowledge with regard to this subject and experience in my own area. I’ve been campaigning from the backbenches since 2012 for a pyrite scheme so I think the residents here will have someone who is here to help not to hinder”.

“I intend to deliver. I’m not being facetious about this in any shape or form, already I’ve visited homes that have been remediated, I’ve seen homes where they’ve been re-certified and what it means to people and families, it is my job as Minister to deliver but it is also my job to be responsible and realistic about the timeframe for doing that, to fix what we have and the issues particularly in the West with Donegal, Mayo, Clare and other counties, it is going to take a number of years but the scheduling of that work is important, we have to give people certainty around it”.

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If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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