McCrossan says people who believe defective block crisis confined to Donegal ‘in for big shock’

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SDLP MLA Daniel McCrossan has claimed people who believe the defective block crisis will remain confined to Donegal are ‘in for a big shock’.

The West Tyrone MLA referred to the large number of properties in the 26 counties that have been ‘affected significantly as a result of defective materials — mica, pyrite, reinforced aerated autoclaved concrete (RAAC) and other substances — in blocks’.

"It has led to huge numbers of homeowners being affected and not being able to live in their homes; in fact, their homes are crumbling around them. It has caused huge stress to those affected.

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"If anyone thinks that those materials stopped at the border, they need to wake up. Every day, everything goes across the border organically, both ways. If anyone thinks that the only homes affected are in Donegal, they are in for a big shock further down the line.

A home affected by defective blocks in Donegal.A home affected by defective blocks in Donegal.
A home affected by defective blocks in Donegal.

" I have no doubt whatever that quite a number of homes in my constituency contain those chemicals. I have no doubt that that is the case in Derry, Fermanagh and across Omagh and that it will be only a matter of time before that starts to come to light,” Mr. Crossan told MLAs on Monday.

He claimed that it was obvious to the naked eye that there are issues with homes in his own constituency of West Tyrone.

“The problem is that people are not forthcoming because there is no way of dealing with it and their homes and properties would be devalued almost instantly. They would be stuck in a serious situation.

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"I visited one such home: a poor man and woman who have worked all their lives, rearing their family, built a beautiful home on the outskirts of my constituency, and clearly the house has serious issues because of materials that were used,” he said.

He asked Communities Minister Gordon Lyons if Stormont’s proposed new Defective Premises Bill would provide any protections for homeowners ‘whose properties may have been constructed using defective building materials such as mica, pyrite or RAAC, where problems are emerging or will emerge in the future’.

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"This is a train that is undoubtedly on the tracks,” he said.

Mr. McCrossan pointed out that Derry City and Strabane District Council and other councils across the North were aware of homes affected by defective blocks.

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He spoke of the ‘stress and distress’ the defective blocks crisis has caused countless families in Donegal.

"We have seen that play out in a real way across Donegal. Indeed, it is important to point out that a number of Northern Irish residents who have holiday homes across Donegal are affected, and, unfortunately, they have no form of redress and have been left out as a result,” said the SDLP MLA.

Responding to some of the concerns raised Mr. Lyons said: “Mr. McCrossan raised the issue of materials. It is intended that the legislation will offer owners the opportunity for legal recourse if defective materials have rendered a premises defective. The Bill is about giving people an opportunity through the courts as well.”

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