€2.7bn Mica Redress Scheme signed off by Cabinet this week

17 June 2022

In 2017, the Irish Government was presented with a report warning that around 6000 properties across counties in the west of the country (Donegal, Mayo Sligo and Clare) had been affected by defective concrete blocks.

The issue of these defective blocks is caused by a mineral known as muscovite mica.  Higher than acceptable levels of mica impacts the cohesion of cement, leading to the over-absorption of water, creating cracking in external and internal walls and seriously compromises the integrity of the structure. This has led to thousands of homes becoming unliveable for numerous families across the country. 

In an initial response in January 2020, the Government launched the defective blocks scheme which provided payment of up to 90% of the cost of repairing homes affected. However, campaigners argued this was not enough and that families would be required to preliminarily spend €5,000 on engineers and surveys to even avail of the scheme.  

This week cabinet signed off on an estimated €2.7bn redress scheme. The scheme will now also include affected homes in counties Clare and Limerick, the final estimation has also increased by a further €500m due to inflation and the addition of the two extra counties. 

Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien confirmed that the grant per home will be capped at €420,000. O’Brien noted that rates will be in keeping with a construction cost report carried out by the Society of Chartered Surveyors in Ireland. The report outlined that the average cost per square meter will be around  €1,561 and €1.701, 

Minister O’Brien stated that “I am satisfied that the enhanced scheme will represent a significant step forward in having a fit for purpose grant scheme which will help homeowners rebuild their homes and their lives,

Speaking in the Dáil on Tuesday Taoiseach Micheál Martin stated that the Government agreed to the expanded Mica compensation scheme because “it is time to move on this”. Tánaiste Leo Varadkar echoed these sentiments, saying that “we want to get this done…I’ve been in those houses, been in homes in Donegal that are crumbling, and it’s not just houses that are cracking up, people are starting to crack up as well.”

Mica redress campaigner Paddy Diver responded to the measures stating that those suffering from the crisis “really need the Government to get it right this time,” further arguing there can be “no more delays, no more false promises”.