Donegal TD Joe McHugh has welcomed the publication today of the expert panel’s report on Mica-affected homes in Donegal and Mayo and says he wants the panel recommendations implemented as soon as possible.
The Mica Report makes a number of recommendations and recognises hundreds of homeowners here in the county were affected through no fault of their own, said McHugh.
Minister McHugh said his first thoughts today are with the families who have been so badly affected and he paid tribute to their courage and perseverance, especially those involved in the Mica Action Group.
He also thanked Minister Damien English for publishing the report which was released to Minister English by the Attorney General after a legal review.
The report said the estimated number of homes in Donegal affected by Mica is 1,200, but that figure could rise to 4,800.
“I welcome the fact that the report has now been published,” said Minister McHugh.
“I want to thank Mr McCarthy and his expert panel for this report which is a technical assessment of the issues. It sets out the circumstances of how these issues arose and makes recommendations to prevent this happening again and I am particularly pleased that the panel recognise that the homeowners played no role in the circumstances which led to this situation.
“I will now push within Government for a Redress Scheme for affected homeowners so that they can now begin to put their homes and lives back together again.
“It is clear from the recommendations that there were deficiencies in the way building was regulated at the time and more robust procedures are recommended going forward.
“The Panel says that the affected dwellings are single storey, dormer and two storey in estates and one-off rural types and were constructed by contract and by self-build.
“Based on information received, the Panel is of the opinion that the reason for the widespread pattern cracking in private dwellings in Counties Donegal and Mayo is primarily due to the excessive amount of deleterious materials in the aggregate used to manufacture the concrete blocks. The deleterious material in County Donegal was primarily muscovite mica while in County Mayo it was primarily reactive pyrite.
“The problem was exacerbated by the severe exposure of many of these dwellings and the ingress of moisture into the concrete blocks which was possibly accelerated by the extreme weather conditions in winter 2009 / 2010 and late winter 2010.”
McHugh added: “It is important now that a Redress Scheme is put in place for all homeowners in Co Donegal who have suffered as a result of all the deficiencies in our planning and building regulation systems between 2000 and 2006.
“It is clear in the report that those who bought homes or who built their own homes in this period of time did so without any knowledge whatsoever of the problems ahead and in those circumstances they should have access to a Redress Scheme.”