Confirmation of Mica panel is a ‘step in the right direction’

Minister Paudie Coffey with members of the Mica Action Group in Inishowen last year.
Minister Paudie Coffey with members of the Mica Action Group in Inishowen last year.

A spokesperson for the Mica Action Group has described this week’s confirmation of the membership of an expert panel to investigate defective blocks as “a welcome step in the right direction.”

Philip McDaid told the ‘Journal’ the group has been “tirelessly campaigning” for the group to be set up and while it took some time for the panel to be confirmed they hoped the wheels would now be “set in motion.”

Earlier this week, Deputy Joe McHugh welcomed confirmation from Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government, Paudie Coffey, of the membership of the panel.

They are: chairperson Dennis McCarthy; Noel Kane, member of the National Standards Authority of Ireland’s Concrete and Eurocodes Consultative Committees and the chair of their Masonry Panel and Eurocodes Masonry Subcommittee; Frank Lee, who has been nominated by the Association of Consulting Engineers of Ireland, and

Dave Blaney, PGeo, and Board member of the Institute of Geologists of Ireland.

The panel has been set up to investigate the presence of MICA and defective blocks in homes and buildings in Donegal and Mayo. Deputy McHugh said an interim report will be expected by the end of May and the panel are allowing for six months to carry out their investigations before a final report will be completed.

Mr McDaid said that while the initial plan was that the panel would be set up early this year and a report would be completed by May, the fact they would take some time to look at the issue had to be welcomed. He said the Mica Action Group was now keen to meet with the panel to discuss their terms of reference to ensure it meets what is expected. He said they were also keen to get back to all the local families who have been affected by the issue.

Mr McDaid added that while the progress has been slow, the fact it has now started is a “welcome step in the right direction.”

He said the group continue to be contacted “day in, day out” by local homeowners concerned about Mica and defective blocks. They have also been contacted by ‘buyers and sellers’ and estate agents and Mr McDaid said a number of legal issues and questions have arisen, which still need to be answered.

Deputy McHugh thanked the panel members for accepting and acknowledged the work of Councillor Bernard McGuinness “on the ground on this issue, and whose input has been vital from the beginning.” He said they have asked that one of the first tasks of the panel is to meet with the MICA Action Group and their representatives.