Independent candidate Peter Casey has said the Government should sell its AIB shares in order to fund Mica redress in Donegal.
Lambasting the Government for dithering on the delivery of the long-awaited Mica redress scheme, Mr Casey said selling shares in AIB would provide a perfect funding solution.
“Taxpayers in Donegal, including those whose homes are falling apart, helped fund the bailout of AIB. The bank is owned and controlled by the Government’s majority shareholding and those shares should be sold to fund the restoration, repair or rebuild of homes in Donegal.
“In 2017, the Government sold just under 29% of its 99% shareholding in AIB for €3.4bn. I’m calling on them to sell another tranche of shares to address this devastating crisis for so many Donegal families. They could sell enough to cover a full and fair redress scheme and still hold the controlling stake in AIB,” he said.
Mr Casey added that the €40 million promised by the Government falls “way short of the many hundreds of millions of euro needed to address the living nightmare of crumbling homes” in the county.
He said: “Homes are literally falling apart in Donegal and the Government has dragged its heels to the extent that lives are being put at risk. I have visited family homes in Inishowen that are on the brink of collapse due to crumbling blockwork and it is heartbreaking for them. It is causing incredible mental anguish and stress for people. One man, who lives in one of the worst affected homes I have seen, told me that he can literally hear his home creaking at night.
“This has to be the most immediate issue for any person hoping to be returned as a TD in Donegal – including our county’s own Government minister Joe McHugh.
“The problem affects thousands of homeowners, families and businesses whose walls are literally falling apart right across Donegal.
“Dozens of families in affected homes across the county will not have a house to call home at the end of this election campaign. That is the harsh reality facing these families while our Government dithers on delivery of the scheme,” Mr Casey said.
“February 8 will afford people the opportunity to stand up and be counted in the ballot box on this issue. The people of Donegal are tired of the same old rhetoric from this Government – promising funds and failing to deliver. Not one penny of the promised €40 million has been delivered and not one house has been fixed under the scheme,” he added.
5,000 homes are registered under the Mica redress scheme at present.
“A house, for the majority of people, is the single biggest investment they will make in their lifetime. Thousands are crumbling in the county and it is taking a toll on the health and well-being of many families. It is past time that the redress money needed is delivered to the people of Donegal, so that they can sleep safe in their beds at night,” Mr Casey added.
Mr Casey said he is committed to working hard to ensure that redress for those affected is rolled out as soon as possible.