As the Taoiseach knows, children from Donegal whose families have been affected and devastated by the mica scandal are protesting outside the Dáil and are standing in the rain as we speak. They left their homes and the hills of Donegal at 6 a.m. this morning. These children should not have had to travel all the way to Dublin. Like all others, these children should enjoy a carefree childhood and they should not have to worry about their homes crumbling around them. They should not have to witness the intense and often unbearable pressure that their parents and wider families live with every day.
On Monday we heard from Mackenzie McDaid, aged 12, speaking about how living in a mica-affected home impacts on her. She said:
I worry when I go to sleep that the roof is going to fall on top of me. I was sleeping in my bedroom and I heard a big bang and a big pile of plaster had fallen off the wall. There are 15 out of 16 in my class who have mica and know that they have mica. We would be very worried and we kind of comfort each other by talking to each other about it.
Outside the gates of the Dáil this morning more children told me of how they wish their home to be their happy place. They asked why they have to be afraid when they are playing in their home place. They had written to the Taoiseach and they asked him to come out and meet them. They are disappointed that they have not seen the Taoiseach and they want him to come out, look them in the eye and explain to them why they are living this nightmare.
The mica and pyrite scandal affects families in Donegal as well as families in Mayo, Sligo, Limerick, Clare and Tipperary. Support for all these victims of mica and pyrite is not just national but international because all of us can at least try to understand the heartache and trauma of your family home and sanctuary crumbling around you. The impact on people's mental health and relationships has been immense and families have been broken by this. In June I visited some of the homes again and on that visit I heard the stories of gable walls cracking, chimneys about to collapse and all of the misery this causes. I have spoken to people who live in caravans but who still pay a big mortgage for a home that is disintegrating. These families have asked me time and again to put their cases front and centre. That is why the motion for 100% redress came in June and it was passed unanimously by the Dáil but it seems to me it is being ignored by the Government.
Níl sé seo cóir ar na teaghlaigh seo. Tá cabhair uathu ón Rialtas chun deireadh a chur lena bpian. Dúirt an Taoiseach, an tAire Tithíochta, Rialtais Áitiúil agus Oidhreachta agus an tAire Caiteachais Phoiblí agus Athchóirithe go dtabharfadh siad cúnamh dóibh ach táimid anseo arís le leanaí ag agóid taobh amuigh den Dáil ionas go n-éistfidh an Rialtas leo. Caithfear seo a cheartú. I note that the Minister is to brief the Taoiseach and other leaders on a revised mica redress scheme this week but the only thing the families want to, need to or should hear is that the Government will deliver 100% redress, no ifs, buts or maybes. Those affected by the scandal have had their fill of promises and they have had enough tea and sympathy from Government. They want a solution. These families wait and wait while staring at cracks in their homes and enduring the cracks in their lives. This is a matter of justice. Does the Taoiseach support 100% redress? I want him to make that clear and to tell those standing outside that 100% redress is what will be delivered.