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Cruise calls for pyrite scheme’s sliding scale to be scrapped

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LONG BATTLE Members of North Mayo Pyrite Group, including Martina Hegarty (second from left), with Sinn Féin's Mary Lou McDonald and Pearse Doherty at the protest in Dublin on Friday, October 8. Pic: Paul Reardon

Oisín McGovern

A Foxford-based county councillor has called for the sliding-scale component of the Defective Concrete Block Scheme to be scrapped.
Cllr Neil Cruise was reacting to a presentation on the details of the Government’s new pyrite redress scheme.
Speaking at the recent meeting of the council’s Special Policy Committee on Housing, Cllr Cruise welcomed the new scheme but called for the sliding-scale component to be axed.
“I think the sliding scale per square foot is not a good idea,” said Cllr Cruise. “I welcome the new upper limit for the scheme, but the sliding scale … really isn’t workable for families.”

Losses
The Fine Gael councillor claimed at a person in a ‘normal house, by today’s standard’ would stand to lose between €65,000 and €75,000 having availed of the scheme.
Cllr Michael Kilcoyne seconded Cllr Cruise’s proposal, but acknowledged: “Progress has been made and it’s only fair to recognise that. If it drags on it’s only going to get worse.”
Under the revised scheme, homeowners rebuilding their houses will be offered €145 per square foot for the first 1,000 square feet of their home, dropping to €110 per square foot for the next 1,000 square feet, and €100 per square foot for the remainder, based on the size of the existing home.
Some campaigners have argued that this will still leave households facing considerable costs.
Mayo TD Darragh Calleary has said the current figures under the scheme will be revised in the spring of 2022.
Sinn Féin TD Rose Conway-Walsh has also called for the sliding scale to be abolished.

‘Tsunami’
CLLR Cruise also warned that the county’s rental market was facing ‘a tsunami’ of people who would require accommodation while their homes were being rebuilt.
“There are 40 houses for lease in county Mayo this minute. They are mental numbers compared to what we are going to need in the new year,” said Cllr Cruise.
Over one-hundred-and-eighty applications have been made to Mayo County Council for the Defective Concrete Block Scheme so far.
Those availing of the scheme are also entitled to an allowance of €15,000 for rental accommodation and €5,000 for storage costs while their homes are being reconstructed.
A maximum of €420,000 can be claimed by a household under the new scheme.