MAG offers council the opportunity to use its info evenings to communicate with homneowners

The Mica Action Group have offered their DCB Scheme Information Evenings as an opportunity for Donegal County Council to communicate immediately and directly to impacted homeowners.

It follows a discussion at yesterday’s meeting of the council’s Defective Blocks Committee, which heard calls for better communication from Chairperson Cllr Martin McDermott.

MAG Chair Lisa Hone says they have already organised a series of meetings over September and October, and she believes face to face engagements would be better than the online seminar idea suggested at the committee meeting.


MAG statement in full –

15th September 2023
Following discussions at the Defective Concrete Steering Committee held 14th Sept 2023, about the
need for regular and informative communication from DCC to affected homeowners, Mica Action Group
have offered their DCB Scheme Information Evenings as an opportunity for Donegal County Council to
communicate immediately and directly to impacted homeowners.

Lisa Hone Chair of MAG states,

“We have already organised a series of meetings over Sept and Oct to try and provide the most up to
date information to impacted homeowners, whether it be those who are trying to progress through
the scheme, or those that need to apply. As we have a number of dates and venues already secured in
the affected areas, it makes sense to offer these as a platform to DCC to be able to relate vital
information to homeowners. As well as imparting information, the value of such face-to-face meetings
is the dialogue with homeowners. The format allows for explanation and discussion in greater detail,
the opportunity for homeowners to ask questions, all of which is important in understanding where
homeowners are at and the issues they face.

An online seminar was suggested at the meeting yesterday, however our concern is that this format
alone would exclude those that are not technologically confident and can limit conversations with
homeowners that can be so valuable and informative.
We had a great attendance at the Information Evening in Malin Head, and it was invaluable to be
joined by Sarah Shovlin of the Banking & Insurance Redress Focus Group. Our next meeting is
Tuesday 19
th September 7pm at Ray Community Centre in the Milford, Ramelton and Rathmullen area.
Donna McDade will speak on behalf of the Banking & Insurance Group.
Since the implementation of the original DCB scheme in 2020, extensive delays, lack of communication
and lack of clarity of information from both DCC, and the Dept of Housing have unnecessarily increased
homeowners’ anxiety and frustration by leaving them in limbo.

There is still a disconnect between both the Department of Housing and Donegal County Council with
regard to the harsh reality of homeowners’ situations. There are homeowners who are living in homes
that have deteriorated so badly that they qualify for the emergency accommodation funding, but still

their application is stuck because the bureaucracy does not allow them a swift way forward.
Homeowners in priority Category 1 who have outlaid tens of €000s of their own money, borrowed from
family or have taken out loans still do not know exactly when money will be in their bank account. Those
who had contractors lined up have now lost them because they do not know when they will get their
grant approval. It is impossible for homeowners to progress without certainty and responsiveness from
both the Council and Government.

The DCB Steering Committee meeting also revealed that almost all new applications to the scheme are
not correctly completed and necessitate much back and forth on a one-to-one basis with the Council
to get to the point where they can be assessed for eligibility. This highlights fundamental issues with
the process. It should not be that difficult or confusing for homeowners to submit an application.
We hope the Council will take up our offer and embrace this opportunity to communicate directly with
homeowners to move the situation on positively.”

There is also an open invitation to Minister of Housing Darragh O’Brien and appropriate officials to
attend an Information Evening of their choosing to respond directly to affected homeowners’ concerns
and questions. A chair will be reserved for the Minister at each meeting.

The full list of forthcoming MAG DCB Scheme Information Meetings is:

Tuesday 19th September 7pm Ray Community Centre.
Thursday 28th September 7pm Greencastle Community Centre.
Monday 2nd October 7pm Jackson’s Hotel, Ballybofey.
Tuesday 10th October 7pm Station House Hotel, Letterkenny.
Monday 16th October 7pm, Inishowen Gateway Hotel, Buncrana.

We are delighted to be joined by a representative from the Banking and Insurance Redress Focus
Group at every meeting.
All are welcome.