I wish to raise with the Minister the comments made by An Tánaiste, Deputy Varadkar, yesterday, when he lectured the families of Donegal and the west of Ireland whose homes have been devastated by mica and pyrite. These families have campaigned long and hard for this Government to do what is fair and deliver 100% redress. The Tánaiste lectured those families, who are going through hell, about the burden that a fair and just scheme would place on taxpayers. He included a smart alec quip about it not being the Government's money. How dare he? The Tánaiste never gave such lectures to the families in Dublin and north Leinster who rightly and justly received 100% redress when their homes were severely impacted by pyrite.
The families in the west of Ireland have been treated like second-class citizens. They have been denied a fully-funded 100% redress scheme. This is completely unacceptable and leaves families who have done nothing wrong with massive bills that they cannot afford to pay. Such glib comments, attempting to turn public opinion, have a devastating impact on these families. It creates an anxiety and a fear that those leading this Government do not hear them and will not do the right thing. Minister, you have to do the right thing. We are talking about people whose homes are literally crumbling around them. These are families who worked hard, paid their taxes and saved hard to buy their homes. Now, through no fault of their own, they find themselves in a horrific situation where their houses are cracking and coming asunder around them.
The human toll of this ordeal has been heartbreaking. This has led to unbearable mental distress for families. I know families and people who have been close to emotional breakdown. These people are close to financial ruin. They say that their very lives have crumbled around them with their homes. For them, the dream has turned into a living nightmare. I live in Buncrana, the epicentre of this disaster in north Donegal. This scandal has left deep scars on our community. It is agonising to see neighbours, friends and family suffer in this way.
I do not think I have the words to convey to the Minister the trauma these families are going through, but I need him to listen to me here and now. This needs to be brought to an end. The families have made their final submission to the working group. The Minister must surely know the key asks the campaigners and families have made. The Government cannot keep standing idly by. The families demand a scheme that covers the full cost of rebuilding their homes. That is right and just. As Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, the Minister has the power to bring incredible positive change to the lives of families who have been through this living hell. I am asking him on behalf of those families to do the right thing. Will he tell them today that the Government will deliver 100% redress?