A fresh ray of hope  has surfaced for the hundreds of Donegal householders living in properties with defective concrete blocks.

Minister Paudie Coffey, Minister of State at the Department of the Environment with Special Responsibility for Housing, and other government officials visited Inishowen over the weekend to meet with the Mica Action Group and homeowners affected by the issue of defective blocks to their homes.

This visit follows on from a successful public meeting organised by the Mica action group in November last, where upwards of 350 people attended, many of whom are affected by this issue.  Following this, a face to face meeting was held in Dublin between the group and officials from the Department of Environment in December to reiterate their call for government intervention and the setting up of a redress scheme to help affected homeowners.

On Saturday, Minister Coffey saw first-hand the serious conditions under which homeowners are being forced to live with homes literally crumbling around them. He also met personally with these affected homeowners and heard of the significant stress that results from this issue – an issue brought about through no fault of their own.

Ann Owens, Committee member of the Mica Action Group and Damien Mc Kay, Chartered Engineer and Mica Action Group advisor, accompanied the Minister and other officials; Minister Joe Mc Hugh TD and Councillor Bernard Mc Guinness to the affected homes.

Ann stated: “The group welcomes the Minister’s initiative in making time to come to Inishowen.  He saw first-hand some of the homes which have suffered serious degradation and spoke to the families involved.

“Following the visit to the affected homes, the Minister met with the Mica Action Group to discuss a way forward.  He expressed his serious concern over the issue and stated that the Department of Environment will do what they can to support the group in conjunction with the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (under Minister Joe Mc Hugh) to seek a resolution to this crisis. However, it is clear from discussions that this issue will not be resolved overnight.

“Some of the affected homeowners have shared detailed technical reports with the Department of Environment, outlining robust testing that has been undertaken on their properties to verify the cause of the significant cracking to homes.

“The Minister has assured the group of his continued cooperation and support in seeing that those who are culpable be held fully accountable for this issue.” 

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