Mica homeowners 'ashamed' and 'fear for their lives that the roof will fall on them'

By Robbie Kane & Amy Donohoe

Donegal homeowners affected by mica felt "ashamed" by the problems with the homes even though they "feared for their lives that the roof would fall on them".

Thousands of people took part in a protest in Dublin today to mount further pressure on the Government to commit to a 100 percent redress scheme.

One woman told Dublin Live at the protest that people were ashamed to say that they had an issue with their home which saw them remain quiet - which only made the problem worse.

She said: "Mica was something we had heard of and didn’t realise that so many people had it.

"Since people started talking out, we’ve realised how many people have it, next door neighbours, most of my family are all affected.

"People were keeping it inside their own house and not saying anything about it, it was seen as a shameful thing. It’s horrible to come here today, take the kids out of school and get up at 5:30am."

Another woman said: "The houses are crumbling, people are fearing for their lives that the roof will come down on top of them.

"We’re peacefully walking through the streets to create awareness. We’re asking for help."

The Government has faced criticism for only offering 90 percent under the current scheme, leaving property owners with significant bills to repair or rebuild homes.

The blocks used to build the homes are understood to have come from local quarries. Campaigners are blaming a lack of building regulations and oversight of materials.

TV personality and Donegal hotelier Noel Cunningham was also at the protest today to support the movement.

He told Dublin Live: "We are in the middle of a tragedy.

"It’s not about blame, it’s not about what has happened in the past, after today the decision has to be made, 100 per cent redress because these families have been affected so badly through no fault of their own.

"Checks, practises, standards weren’t followed through and that’s the reality.

"We’re getting into Halloween, into Christmas, we’ve to think of the children, the young people. They’re wondering if Santa will come to their house if it's damaged. I spoke to two children and both of their houses have to be demolished.

"When the redress is agreed, it’s only the start of a long journey for these people. They’ve to demolish houses, rebuild, find somewhere to live, find somewhere to store furniture, it’s horrific,

"The people of Donegal had enough, they want it sorted, it has to be dealt with, and for goodness sake, let's do it.

"We can always find money in this country, we’re a wealthy country so let's sort out these families and put an end to their mica misery."

Homeowners and families hit by the devastating effects of mica have vowed to show the world the “despair and waking nightmare” of living in a crumbling home.

Another woman spoke of how this problem is impacting children.

She said: "We shouldn’t have had to take our children out of school. Under the UN commission on children's rights which Ireland signed in 1992, every child has the right to survival and that includes a home.

"Some of these children are going to bed at night and the walls are cracking around their beds. What country would you see this in? These children are being affected mentally and it’s not fair on Irish citizens to be treated like this."

Michael Doherty, a spokesperson for the Mica redress campaign believes that the State needs to make this right.

"We need to be in the budget with significant numbers. We need millions and I expect to see it in the budget. We need 100 percent redress, we need a state back guarantee and there should be no excluded homes," he said.

"Tenants shouldn’t be trapped in their homes, where do they go? People have invested their life savings on holiday homes too, they’ve gone from assets to liabilities, they can’t sell it, they’re going to watch it fall in.

"Modern homes will fall in because nobody will fix them, they can’t sell them either. The government needs to wake up. "

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