Minister meets Mica group

Minister Paudie Coffey with members of the Mica Action Group in Inishowen over the weekend.

Minister Paudie Coffey with members of the Mica Action Group in Inishowen over the weekend.

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There was a huge step forward for homeowners affected by defective blocks over the weekend as Minister Paudie Coffey met with them in Inishowen.

The Minister of State at the Department of the Environment with Special Responsibility for Housing, and other government officials visited the peninsula on Saturday to meet with the Mica Action Group and homeowners affected by the issue of defective blocks to their homes.

The Minister saw “at first-hand” the serious conditions homeowners are being forced to live in with homes “literally crumbling around them.”

He also met with the homeowners affected and heard of the “significant stress” that results from the issue.

A spokesperson for the Mica Action Group welcomed the meeting, but added that it was clear the issue was not one which would be solved overnight.

Ann Owens, Committee member of the Mica Action Group and Damien Mc Kay, Chartered Engineer and Mica Action Group advisor, accompanied the Minister and other officials including Minister Joe Mc Hugh TD and Councillor Bernard Mc Guinness to the affected homes.

Ann stated:“Following the visit to the affected homes, the Minister met with the Mica Action Group to discuss a way forward. He expressed his serious concern over the issue and stated that the Department of Environment will do what they can to support the group in conjunction with the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (under Minister Joe Mc Hugh) to seek a resolution to this crisis.

“Some of the affected homeowners have shared detailed technical reports with the Department of Environment, outlining robust testing that has been undertaken on their properties to verify the cause of the significant cracking to homes.The Minister has assured the group of his continued cooperation and support in seeing that those who are culpable be held fully accountable for this issue.”

The meeting follows on from a successful public meeting organised by the Mica action group in November last, where upwards of 350 people attended, many of whom are affected by this issue. A face-to-face meeting was also held in Dublin between the group and Department of Environment officials in December to reiterate their call for government intervention and the setting up of a redress scheme.