Donegal Pyrite update
In media coverage surrounding more recent Pyrite affected dwellings in Donegal, it is believed as many as 2,000 homes are affected. It looks like consumers are still paying the price for inadequate Department of the Environment (and Local Authority) policing of materials in the construction sector. Has anything changed under the new building regulations to protect homeowners against pyrite or mica?
In an Examiner article on 19th November 2014 recent meetings and the extent of the problem are discussed. Link to article: Faulty Blocks may affect up to 2,000 homes. Extract:
“The meeting heard a promise from a junior minister, Joe McHugh, that he would take the issue to Environment Minister Alan Kelly with a view to a meeting.
A spokesman said: “It was a very positive meeting which was attended by all our TDs and a lot of county councillors.
“But we were very disappointed that nobody from Donegal County Council was there as they were invited to attend.
“We have evidence that the structural damage is so bad that it is only a matter of time before a bison [concrete] slab is affected, resulting in a house coming tumbling down. That is the reality as blocks get weaker and weaker and more and more cracks appear. Our survey has shown that it takes 5.6 years for signs of the defective blocks to appear in houses so many houses may not even be showing the signs of cracks yet.”
The group said it would continue to seek members from people who were sold the defective blocks. “We believe that up to 2,000 houses could be affected. If people see cracks they should contact the group.”
Among those present was Damian McCauley from Letterkenny who has been forced to spend €30,000 taking down the outer “leaf” of his house due to defective blocks.”
More Links to recent radio coverage below- click on titles to get to radio clips for first two links, press article at end.
- Highland Radio: Meeting told as many as 2,000 homes could be affected by defective breeze blocks. “A crowd of up to 350 people attended a public meeting in An Grianan Hotel Burt last night and were told that up to 2,000 properties in north Donegal may have been affected by a crumbling breeze blocks.”
- Highland Radio: Faulty breeze blocks leave Raphoe family living in fear. “A crowd of up to 350 people attended a public meeting in An Grianan Hotel Burt this week and were told that up to 2,000 properties in north Donegal may have been affected by crumbling breeze blocks.”
- In an article in the owners affected were urged to attend public meetings- see Derry Journal Homeowners urged to attend public meeting on defective building blocks
In previous posts we asked the question, as the Local Authority in Donegal and the Department were aware of pyrite blocks in 2013 why did they not issue an industry alert immediately? The Minister for the Environment has stated in the Dáil that he was only made aware of the problem of pyrite in blockwork on 7th April 2014 (see Dáil statement here).
It is imperative that the Department explains what and when they knew about pyrite problems and what action was taken by its officials.
There are many questions that remain to be answered on the handling of the Donegal pyrite problem to ensure that consumers and construction professionals are protected.
Other posts on this topic: