Dáil debates

Thursday, 7 October 2021

Saincheisteanna Tráthúla - Topical Issue Debate

Defective Building Materials

3:45 pm

Photo of Joe McHughJoe McHugh (Donegal, Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

Gabhaim buíochas leis an gCeann Comhairle fá choinne an tseans labhairt ar an ábhar iontach tábhachtach seo. Cuirim fáilte roimh an Aire Stáit.

As thousands of people from all over the country descend on our capital to highlight a humanitarian matter of untold proportion, I wish the march well tomorrow and everybody a safe journey to Dublin and back home. This evening I will speak about William and Trish, who started out in secondary school together, went to university together, got married and brought up four great children, who are now young adults. William and Trish's family was forced to leave their home in 2014, seven years ago, because of mica. They moved into rental accommodation, which, by the way, has mica. As they had to pay rent, they defaulted on their mortgage. Both husband and wife went through personal bankruptcy, recorded in the High Court, solely because of mica. The family has endured incredible levels of stress over these seven years but these people continued to keep their family on the right track through education, sport and the daily challenges in raising a family these days. Trish had to take early retirement from teaching because of post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of mica.

The rub for the family is that the bank that owned the mortgage sold it to another institution after the bankruptcy case. It sold, in effect, what was a worthless property. I want to send a public message to this institution tonight publicly, as I have tried to do it diplomatically and behind the scenes. I failed in that. I want somebody from within that institution to sit down with the family and try to figure out a way for the family to get peace and restart their lives. I want the institution to find a way for the family to recover from the trauma, fear, loss and distress felt over these past seven years, all caused by mica and through no fault of their own.

We should remember that the people who will march tomorrow will send a very loud message not just about what might happen in the days, weeks and years ahead if there is not a significant intervention by the Government but also it will concern what has happened with William, Trish and others like them. It is about the stress they have endured, the pressure they have been under and the cliff edge they have approached. Now is the time for us to hear the plight and voice of so many people who find themselves in an impossible position. Tonight my message is for this particular financial institution but it is also for the Government, insurance companies and all the stakeholders that can play a role in sorting out this impossible position in which people find themselves.

We must show them the way and indicate there is hope and light at the end of this terrible tunnel. I hope to hear from the Minister of State this evening that there will be an enormous effort and emphasis over the next few days and weeks to try to bring all this to a conclusion. I emphasise again my message to the banking institution involved with this case, along with other banking institutions. I ask them to show some humanity and let us see that they can work shoulder to shoulder with people who find themselves in this very dark place.


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