Membership of expert panel investigating defective blocks is confirmed

Minister Coffey pictured with members of the Mica Action Group in 2015.

Minister Coffey pictured with members of the Mica Action Group in 2015.

The membership of the expert panel being established to investigate the presence of Mica and defective blocks in local homes has been confirmed.

Minister Joe McHugh TD has welcomed the confirmation of the panel from the Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government, Paudie Coffey.

The penal will investigate the presence of MICA and defective blocks in homes and buildings in Donegal and Mayo and an interim report is expected by the end of next month.

Minister McHugh said: “This is a welcomed development in a long and complicated road, and is a result of extremely hard work and perseverance, from the home owners and the MICA Action Group, and Minister Paudie Coffey and his officials, and the work I have done on ensuring that this remained on the Minister’s agenda, even organising a site visit for him to witness the damage first hand happening in Inishowen. I also want to acknowledge the work Councillor Bernard McGuinness has been doing on the ground on this issue, and whose input has been vital from the beginning.

“Now that the full panel has been appointed, I have already requested that a detailed timeline be outlined by the panel to let people know what will be happening as part of the investigation.”

He added: “I have received confirmation that 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. This will be presented to the Minister for review.

“As part of their work, we have asked that one of the first tasks of the panel is to meet with the MICA Action Group and their representatives, so that they have an opportunity to feed in their knowledge and experience directly to the panel.

In addition to Mr. McCarthy as chairperson, the membership of the expert panel will comprise: 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 their Masonry Panel and Eurocodes Masonry Subcommittee; 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.

Concluding, Minister McHugh said: “I would like to thank the Chairperson and each of the three nominees for agreeing to accept this offer and I offer them any and all support I can. And I look forward to their work being carried out as thoroughly and swiftly as possible as this has been an extremely long road for many home-owners.

“Since this matter was brought to my attention, I have ensured that it has been a priority for Minister Coffey and the Deptartment officials and even during this time when there is so much uncertainty regarding the next Government, I have worked hard to make sure that all our progress to date doesn’t stop.”