Mica/defective blocks protest to be held at Donegal County Council meeting

People across Inishowen have been urged to attend a demonstration in Lifford on Monday, in response to ‘frustration’ over what one campaigner has described as ‘inaction’ on the revised defective blocks scheme.

Campaigners, which include Paddy Diver, have asked that standing orders be suspended to let ‘frustrated’ homeowners ‘have their say’ at the next meeting of Donegal County Council, which takes place at 11am in County House, Lifford on Monday.

Speaking to the Journal yesterday, Mr Diver said homeowners cannot live any longer in houses that engineers have said should be condemned and the scheme’s 15,000 euro grant for accommodation costs should be released immediately.

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He highlighted how leading expert Andreas Leeman, who visited Donegal last week, told how he went into an affected house and ‘started coughing after 20 minutes.’ he also highlighted the case of a two-year-old in England whose death was found to be from mould in his flat.

Affected homeowners pictured at a demonstration in Dublin.

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Mr Diver said that no person or family should be forced to live in an unsafe home and solutions must be found.

"If that solution is modular homes or dwellings or whatever they want to come up with to ensure families are safe this Christmas, then it needs to be done immediately. Last Christmas, people were left petrified and the stress is having a huge impact on people’s mental health. It is not good enough. People are stressed to their limits and cannot take any more.”

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Paddy confirmed that the council has been officially informed that homeowners will be attending the meeting and said they must be given a chance to speak.

"We’re going to be asking the hard-hitting questions and asking what exactly is being done? We’re not going up here to suspend the meeting, we want something constructive to happen, We want the 15,000 euro released to everyone asap, so that people can get their accommodations sorted and we want the applications from over 400 people in stage one to be fast-tracked.”

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“The number one ask is that people who are living in unsafe dwellings will be safe for Christmas.”

Earlier this month, the council said the updated guidance and parameters to be applied by the Council when considering the stage 1 applications, have now been clarified and a review of applications would be commenced.

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Paddy added that there ‘shouldn’t have to be a rally cry’ for people to attend.

"I know Christmas is coming and times are right, but I think we all agree that something needs to be done and we need to show up and voice our frustrations.”

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He added that this is ‘only stage one’ of the protest and that if demands are not met, ‘it will be taken to a different level’.

Meanwhile, at the council’s Budget Meeting this week, a motion from Councillor Gerry McMonagle, which seeks an urgent meeting with the housing minister to discuss the need for modular homes for affected homeowners was unanimously supported.

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The Journal contacted has contacted Donegal County Council for a response on issues raised.