‘Crumbling homes’ in Donegal becomes cross border concern

SDLP MP for Foyle, Mark Durkan.

SDLP MP for Foyle, Mark Durkan.

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Derry people who own homes in Donegal affected by defective blocks have been urged to contact their political representatives in order to strengthen the campaign for a redress scheme.

The move comes after Foyle MP Mark Durkan called upon upon the Irish Government to set up an inquiry into the issue of defective blocks in Donegal homes, some of which were purchased as retirement or holiday homes by people from Derry.

Mr Durkan MP, pledged his support for the Donegal-based Mica Action Group, who have been campaigning for a redress scheme from the Government due to the ‘cracking and crumbling homes caused by defective building blocks, which are thought to be affected by the mineral Muscovite Mica.

At least 10% of second homes registered with the campaign group are owned by people from Derry and Northern Ireland, with that number expected to increase.

A public meeting was held last week on the issue in Inishowen and since then, the number of homeowners registering with the group has increased “substantially.”

Mr Durkan told the Journal he wanted to highlight the concerns of his constituents who own affected homes in Donegal.

He said: “I fully support the Mica Action Group campaign and their call on the Irish government to set up an inquiry into the issue of defective blocks in Donegal. At least 10% of registrations thus far to the Mica Action Group’s online survey – which attempts to examine the scale of the problem throughout Donegal – have come from Derry or the North. This survey confirms that this is not only a deeply concerning issue for residents in Donegal but also a problem affecting a significant number of holiday or retirement home owners in Derry.”

Eileen Doherty, an advisor to the Mica Action Group, told the Journal they were “delighted” with the MP’s support.

She urged everyone in Northern Ireland who own homes in Donegal to get in contact with their local political representative to “put pressure on the Government from a Northern Ireland perspective to act.”

She said their public meeting highlighted the survey findings, which were “just the tip of the iceberg” in relation to the numbers affected.

She said: “ We keep saying this survey us only a snapshot. These are early findings coming through. The numbers registering with the group have increased substantially., since the meeting as more people are becoming aware of the issues and the campaign.”

She added that as many people in the survey registered their Donegal home addresses and not their Derry ones, the figures relating to the number owned by Derry people may be even higher. She said this figure was expected to increase as the campaign grows further in Northern Ireland.

She said: “There are estates in Inishowen affected where many homes are owned by people from Derry. The survey figures are just the tip of the iceberg.”

The Mica Action Group can be contacted on micaactiongroup@outlook.ie or by telephone on (00353) 86 8648888