‘Failed’ families ‘living in fear’

The Government has been accused of “dragging their heels” over the Mica defective blocks crisis.

Donegal North East TD Padraig MacLochlainn raised his concerns on the issue with the Minister for the Environment, Alan Kelly on Sunday’s edition of RTE’s ‘The Week in Politics’ and following responses from the Minister to parliamentary questions.

Deputy MacLochlainn said that the Minister refused to meet with a delegation from Donegal County Council and “failed to confirm any progress on the establishment of an Independent Panel to investigate the matter as announced three months ago by Donegal Minister Joe McHugh.”

Deputy Mac Lochlainn said he was “seriously concerned” that the Government are “dragging their heels” and that “vital time is being lost” for local families who are “seeking a resolution to what is a nightmare for them.”

He added: “There are families across Donegal literally living in fear of the gable collapsing or the roof collapsing around them. They purchased these blocks or purchased homes with these blocks in good faith. They have been profoundly failed by an absence of State regulation and they cannot be abandoned. In Dublin and North Leinster, families devastated by the Pyrite defect which led to pyritic heave in hardcore under the floor slabs in their homes now rightly have support through the Pyrite Resolution Scheme and Board.We need a similar scheme for affected families in Donegal”.

Deputy McConalogue said that due to the “determined efforts” of Colrs Albert Doherty and Mick Quinn, supported by other councillors, Donegal County Council confirmed the presence of Mica in the Council’s housing stock in preliminary results to their tests. He added he understands the investigations are ongoing and a council delegation wish to meet the Minister.

Deputy MacLochlainn said he is “concerned” with his “refusal” to do so and also with the “failure” to confirm progress on the establishment of an independent panel.

“The only confirmation I can get is that the Minister’s Department are preparing a “technical report”. Three months ago, Minister of State Paudie Coffey advised me of the same when I raised this on the floor of the Dáil. Three months wasted. This is a real crisis for hundreds of families across Donegal. Some have been forced to leave their homes,” he added.