Roman Catholic and Church of Ireland bishops, and a leading Presbyterian clergyman, have called on the Irish Government to offer full and immediate redress to the thousands of people whose homes have been affected by the mica/pyrite crisis. Numerous family homes have been seriously damaged because defective building blocks were used in their construction. The church leaders said:
“Housing and homelessness are recognised as key political and social justice issues of our time. In this context, immediate action is needed to alleviate the mica/pyrite crisis which is affecting the health, well-being and safety of homeowners and their families. As church leaders, we are gravely concerned at the families’ plight. While many of our impacted citizens live on the periphery of our island, it is disturbing that their basic need for good housing also seems peripheral to the agenda of our political leaders. A number of us have had the opportunity to visit some of the affected homes and heard from campaigners. Our foremost concern now is getting support for these families.
“There appears to be a disparity in the way people in our region are being treated compared to those elsewhere. Homeowners in Leinster were awarded 100% redress for the pyrite problems there. The citizens of Donegal, Mayo, Sligo, Tipperary, Clare and Limerick deserve no less. This is a matter of fairness, justice and compassion.
“There may come a time for assigning responsibility for what has happened. One thing is certain, though: the homeowners are not to blame.
“The cost of repairing the damage is beyond the means of most families. The mica/pyrite scandal is now a test of our compassion as a society and of the State’s resolve to help its most vulnerable. We must move quickly to end the anguish and uncertainty for all those affected by mica or pyrite in homes that they have bought or built.
“The affected homeowners need three guarantees of support:
– 100% redress from the government for homeowners;
– a 40-year, state-backed scheme, guaranteeing full redress in the event of future problems; and,
– the remedy of 100% redress made available to all those affected.
“We realise there will be significant costs involved, but the State has found resources in the past to rescue the banking sector and, more recently, to deal with the pandemic. The mica and pyrite families need our sympathy, our prayers and our help. They have our full support, as church leaders, in their pursuit of their three demands.”
CHURCH OF IRELAND BISHOPS
Rt Rev Patrick Rooke, Church of Ireland Bishop of Tuam, Killala and Achonry
Rt Rev Dr Ferran Glenfield, Church of Ireland Bishop of Elphin
Rt Rev Andrew Forster, Church of Ireland Bishop of Derry and Raphoe
ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS
Bishop John Fleming, Bishop of Killala
Bishop Donal McKeown, Bishop of Derry
Bishop Kevin Doran, Bishop of Elphin
Bishop Alan McGuckian SJ, Bishop of Raphoe
Bishop Paul Dempsey, Bishop of Achonry
Rev Keith Hibbert, Moderator of Derry & Donegal Presbytery
Photo 1: Msgr Michael Canny, Bishop Andrew Forster and Bishop Alan McGuckian outside the O’Donnell family home, near Burnfoot, which is being demolished because it was built with defective blocks
Photo 2: Stephen O’Donnell shows the churchmen round the damaged interior of his home
Photo 3: Mica Action Group spokesperson, Michael Doherty, on right, discusses its campaign
Photo 4: Bishop Andrew walks round their home with members of the O’Donnell family
Photo 5: Lynette O’Donnell says she misses the view from their home, which they’ve had to vacate
Photo 6: The Breslin family home, at Ludden, near Burnfoot, has become a building site
Photo 7: The three church leaders surveyed rubble that was removed from the Breslins’ home
Photo 8: Gary Breslin explains why the family home has to be knocked down two months ago because of mica
Photo 9: The Breslin family have moved into a temporary home on the site.
Photo 10: The Breslins’ home has been demolished to its foundations
Photo 11: Mary O’Regan, and her neighbour, Declan Glackin, share their plight with the church leaders at Mary’s home in Manorcunningham
Photo 12: Mary in conversation with the bishops