Taoiseach told of defective block devastation as he visits Inishowen home

An Inishowen woman, who showed An Taoiseach Michael Martin the devastating impact of defective blocks on her home, has said she ‘has to believe’ he will ‘do what he said he was going to do’.
Claire McDaid shows her home to An Taoiseach Micheal Martin.Claire McDaid shows her home to An Taoiseach Micheal Martin.
Claire McDaid shows her home to An Taoiseach Micheal Martin.

Claire McDaid spoke to the ‘Journal’ following the visit of An Taoiseach to Donegal at the weekend and told how she demonstrated to him how ‘the blocks just fall apart in your hands’.

“I took him around and showed him the house and as you come around the corner, I said: ‘This is where it really starts - as you come around the utility room and he said either: ‘Oh God, that’s awful’ or ‘Oh God, that’s really bad.’

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“As you come on around the house, it gets worse and he did have a look at it and I showed him how the blocks just fall apart in your hands.”

Claire said those who accompanied the Taoiseach, including Minister Charlie McConalogue, ‘stood back and let me have a moment with him’.

She added how An Taoiseach ‘did his politics bit and explained what they were doing and I interrupted him and said that we just don’t know what’s going to happen. What is going to happen? He looked me in the eyes and said: ‘Your house is going to be fixed.’

Claire said the Taoiseach changed from a persona she saw as more ‘politician’ to one that was more ‘relaxed’. I said: ‘Is it going to cost me tens of thousands of pounds and it was a very clear “no”.’

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Claire added how she hopes other homeowners will gain ‘a little bit of hope’ from the visit. ‘Time will tell if he’s going to do what he said he’s going to do, but he said he was going to get it sorted and I have to believe that.’

Claire said she spoke to the Taoiseach as ‘a human who is suffering and as a mother who is watching her children suffering’.

“I hope it was successful. I don’t feel euphoric but I do feel a bit of hope, which I had kind of lost. He did seem to understand the seriousness of the situation. Politicians can be good at telling you what you want to hear, but he did seem to understand and was empathetic,” she said.

Claire, who lives at the home with her husband Greg and her family, said the Taoiseach wanted to know why she wasn’t at stage one of the application process and ‘what was taking so long’.

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She outlined how she ‘explained what a nightmare’ the application process has been.

“He said that he was going to look into that himself, which I hope he does.”

Claire told how the Taoiseach, his representatives, the Minister and members of Mica Action Group were ‘around the table’ talking and ‘he said this and that needs to be done’.

“He said that there needs to be 60 or 100 homes finished and work completed, so that people will trust in the process and it will give them hope.”

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She added how he ‘seemed like he wanted to get things done and get things moving’.

Following the visit, the Taoiseach met a delegation at An Grianan Hotel in Burt that included members of Mica Action Group, campaigners and Donegal County Council’s Mica Redress Committee Chairperson Councillor Martin McDermott.

Following the meeting, PRO of MAG, Micheal Doherty, posted an update on the group’s Facebook page, during which he said that what came across from both meetings was that the Taoiseach ‘wants to get stuff done’.

He said Colr McDermott also gave an overview on the difficulties with IS465 and other deleterious materials and how this, too, is having an impact on applications.

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“It seemed all new to him, as it would be. He did take the time and wrote an awful lot of notes and did ask intelligent questions. I’m hoping he’ll go back to (Housing Minister) Daragh O’Brien and asks for the add ons to IS465 to include all deleterious materials and the inclusion of foundations.” Campaigner Ann Owens also spoke about the ‘human side’ of the crisis and vulnerable occupants and Michael said the ‘three key pillars’ MAG has been highlighting were also spoken of.

“He went down the road a lot more educated than he was beforehand and did genuinely engage. It wasn’t just an exercise and he has agreed to meet us again.”

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