Mica campaigners speak of groundswell of support

The Inishowen man central to a mica protest that took place in Carndonagh this week has told how the support for his campaign is ‘off the charts.’

Traffic backed up in Carndonagh during the protest
Traffic backed up in Carndonagh during the protest

Paddy Diver had earlier posted a video to his Facebook page, showing the devastating impact of mica on his family home.

He also called for a boycott of the company who supplied the blocks to build it, which he believes is Cassidy Bros in Buncrana.

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The company was one of a number of companies who supplied mica affected blocks used to construct houses in Donegal and Mayo.

On Monday last week, a protest took place at an estate in Carndonagh. It was attended by over 200 people, some mica affected homeowners as well as members of the community who attended to show their support.

A social media campaign has taken hold in recent days amid increasing public anger. Some homeowners have said the Mica Redress Scheme is out of reach for many homeowners, who are required to pay 10% of the final costs. The top grant amount for a full rebuild is 275,000 euro, but some homeowners are being quoted up to 350,000 euro for full repair, while initial sampling tests are in the region of e6,000. A special meeting was held on Thursday by Donegal County Council’s Mica Redress Committee to address concerns and mounting frustration.

Speaking to the Journal, Paddy told how he was moved to act as he was ‘completely fed up’ that houses are crumbling and there has been ‘no investigation’ into the companies who supplied the blocks.

He vehemently denied that protesters have harassed or intimidated anyone involved with the companies and said their protest was ‘peaceful.’

Paddy said he knew he had to act when he found his daughter in tears as she asked him if the family would have to move out of their home due to mica.

He outlined how many children around the county are having to live in crumbling homes and some of them are not sleeping due to worry.

Paddy said he has received strong support, with over 64,000 views of his video and almost 9,500 people joining a facebook page that calls for a boycott of Cassidys.

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In response to the protest and campaign, Cassidy Bros said: “Cassidy Bros is gravely concerned over the personal intimidation and harassment of our workers as they go about their day to day business.

“Cassidy Bros employs a large number of staff and sub-contractors in the county.

“We fully recognise the genuine trauma and hardship suffered by people whose properties are affected by damage to block work. We have sincere sympathy for people facing these issues both in Donegal and in other counties such as Clare, Limerick, Sligo and Mayo.

“In recent times, we have been singled out in mainstream and social media because we supplied such an overwhelming number of homes in our local area. However, it cannot be overlooked that other providers have supplied blocks that developed the same problems, both in Donegal and elsewhere in the country.

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“We of course recognise the right to legitimate, peaceful protest. However, in recent days a number of Cassidy Bros’ employees, sub-contractors and customers have been subjected to increasing levels of wholly unwarranted intimidation and harassment.

“This campaign continues to cause severe personal distress to those delivering Cassidy Bros products and those receiving them.

“Such actions and their incitement on social media represent a dangerous escalation in the situation and have caused Cassidy Bros’ workers to fear for their safety and their livelihoods. We would appeal for all such intimidation and harassment of our workers and customers to cease.”