Minister’s cynical mica announcement will not fool voters

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Independent candidate Peter Casey has branded the announcement that the government has approved a Donegal mica redress scheme as “cynical vote-catching nonsense”.

Mr Casey said people in the county would view the announcement by the Education Minister and Donegal TD Joe McHugh as yet another empty promise on a scheme which is “totally inadequate in any regard”.

“How naive does the minister think the people of Donegal are? How insulting is it to the long-suffering people living in mica-affected houses that this so-called deal is supposedly signed-off in the mouth of a general election – an election in which the minister’s Dáil seat is in very real jeopardy.

“If the minister can get his colleagues to sign off on a resolution for the mica problem now, why couldn’t they have spared Donegal people so much heartache and delivered it four years ago?

“The paltry €40m being made available is not even enough to paint the number of houses affected by mica in Donegal – and that money is to be split between our county and pyrite-affected homes in Mayo. The solution to the problem in Donegal alone is going to cost closer to €1.5bn.

“The real solution here is to ring-fence a 30% stake of the Government’s current holding in AIB. This would yield more than €1.6bn to ensure full and proper restoration of the affected properties.

“Taxpayers in Donegal, including those whose homes are falling apart, helped fund the bailout of AIB. The shares in this bank should now be used to bail out the devastated and heartbroken homeowners.

“This announcement by the minister today is a cruel and deceitful, politically-motivated manoeuvre designed only to fool voters. It is cynical, vote-catching nonsense. I can assure the minister that the people of Donegal will not be taken in by this disingenuous and desperate attempt to save his seat in Donegal.”