Donegal County Council continues to gather Mica data

(L-R): Ann Owens (MAG), Minister Paudie Coffey, Damien Mc Kay (Structural Engineer) and affected homeowner Oliver Lafferty demonstrating the friable/ weak nature of the blocks used in the construction of his home when the Minister visited Inishowen last year.
(L-R): Ann Owens (MAG), Minister Paudie Coffey, Damien Mc Kay (Structural Engineer) and affected homeowner Oliver Lafferty demonstrating the friable/ weak nature of the blocks used in the construction of his home when the Minister visited Inishowen last year.

Donegal County Council is continuing to test homes and gather information and data on Mica in Inishowen, as it awaits the first report from the ‘expert panel’.

At this week’s Inishowen Municipal District meeting in Carndonagh, Councillor Albert Doherty said an October deadline “should be pressed” for the interim report from the Mica Expert Panel, which is currently tasked with investigating the issue and reporting back to government with recommendations.

He said he believed the panel was becoming aware that damage to homes in Inishowen and Donegal was “more significant than thought”.

He said he had been approached by a local resident who said the council had tested block in a home “four doors down” but did not test theirs.

He also asked if council homes affected by Mica were being sold to tenants.

Aideen Doherty, area manager Housing and Corporate Services said that if a house was identified as being affected by Mica the Council would not sell them.

She said if a block was tested from one house and not another, this was undertaken in relation to testing guidelines and took into account various factors such as where the house is located in an estate, and prevailing winds. She said there was also an element of “random testing” and as yet, they do not have a “gold-plated test.”

Ms Doherty said the Council continues to test and gather its own information and data, so that “we have a better understanding ourselves.”

She said they are collating information as beat they can and continue to liaise with the expert panel as they await the report.

She added: “This is so we are armed with as much information as possible. We won’t be selling any houses unless it is deemed to be fit to be signed over or as fit for purchase.”

Earlier this year, it was confirmed that the panel established to investigate the Mica block issue will submit its report to Government by the end of the year.

The panel will be chaired by Dennis McCarthy, a former Director of Services with Waterford County Council. He is joined by 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; Mr. Frank Lee, BE, CEng, FIEI, FConsEI, nominated by the Association of Consulting Engineers of Ireland, and Dave Blaney, PGeo, and Board member of the Institute of Geologists of Ireland.