Council urged to ‘leave no stone unturned’ in Mica investigation

Minister for Housing Paudie Coffey visited Inishowen last year and met with the Mica Action Group.

Minister for Housing Paudie Coffey visited Inishowen last year and met with the Mica Action Group.

Donegal County Council has been urged to “leave no stone unturned” in identifying how many of its housing stock have been affected by Mica and also to also work closely alongside the new expert panel.

At the recent Inishowen Municipal District meeting, Councillor Bernard McGuinness queried if the Council had carried out an inspection of “all houses” to determine if Mica is present.

Councillor McGuinness said the Council would “only get one chance” at working with the new expert panel set up to investigate the presence of Mica and defective blocks in homes and buildings in Donegal.

He added: “How many Council houses are reported as being affected by Mica and are we investigating this? We’ve an expert panel and that’s why I’m raising these questions.”

Colr McGuinness, who praised the work of the Mica Action Group said the Council needed to ensure it co-operates with the panel. He told how he had previously asked if Council stock had been affected and how many but did not receive an answer.

“We have to be straight about this. We’re only getting one chance at it,” he said.

Aideen Doherty, area manager Housing and Corporate Services, said she not did have the figures requested but would “find out.”

While the news of the expert panel was welcomed, Councillor Albert Doherty said he could not do so with the “same degree of light” as Colr McGuinness had. Colr Doherty said while he was “delighted” the panel is in place, he pointed out how it took a number of months for the membership to be confirmed.

Colr Doherty said he was “disappointed it has taken until now for these arrangements to be put in place.”

The Sinn Fein councillor said his party locally submitted a motion to the Ard Fheis at the weekend, which called for a report from the expert panel to be submitted by August 1st. The panel are allowing for six months to carry out their investigations for a final report to be completed.

Colr Doherty said the Council had conducted “significant enquiries” in relation to their stock. He said he hoped they could co-operate with the expert panel and that “pre-election promises will ensure that the report will be available sooner than six months.”

The expert panel are: Denis McCarthy as chairperson; Mr. Noel Kane, BE, Dip Comp Eng, EurIng, CEng, FIEI, FIStructE, MIEAust, MACI, RconEI, member of the National Standards Authority of Ireland’s Concrete and Eurocodes Consultative Committees and the chair of its Masonry Panel and Eurocodes Masonry Subcommittee and Mr. Frank Lee, BE, CEng, FIEI, FConsEI who has been nominated by the Association of Consulting Engineers of Ireland, and Mr. Dave Blaney, PGeo, and Board member of the Institute of Geologists of Ireland.

If you have concerns about Mica or defective blocks, the Mica Action Group, a voluntary committee set up in 2014, can be contacted on micaactiongroup@outlook.ie, by telephone on 086 8648888 or via their facebook page ‘Mica Action Group.’