It is important to note that the work of the Defective Concrete Block working group completed earlier this year with the final meeting of the group taking place on 29 September 2021. I received the final output report in early October which is available on the Departments website
No commitment was given to extend the participation of the Working Group to persons or groups residing outside of Donegal or Mayo. Other interested parties sought admittance onto the Working Group but homeowners were restricted to those from counties within the scope of the Scheme.
The Defective Concrete Blocks Working Group which I established, was tasked with a review of issues of concern which had been raised by homeowners in respect of the current scheme, which applies to Mayo and Donegal only. Under the agreed Terms of Reference, one of the areas in scope for review was the issue of "Eligible Homes". This aspect of the review covered excluded homes in the counties of Donegal and Mayo and homes in local authority areas not currently in the Scheme.
It was considered that homeowners from Donegal and Mayo, who made up 50% of the working group, could adequately represent the views of homeowners who may be affected, regardless of their location.
Any extension of the Scheme to Clare and indeed other local authority areas was considered as part of wider deliberations on the Scheme by Government. To that end, I brought a Memorandum to Government on 30 November 2021, setting out proposals for improvements to the existing Scheme. Included as part of these improvements, I as Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, may, with Government approval, extend the scheme beyond the counties of Donegal and Mayo to additional counties, where the evidence supports such an extension.
On receipt by my Department of the clarifications sought from the Local Authority, progress can be made on the requested extension of the scheme to County Clare.