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25/10/2021

Donegal County Council called on to confirm if more than one company sold mica blocks

Further legal opinion sought on purchases from companies that supplied defective materials

Special council meeting on Donegal's mica crisis this Friday

Legal opinion sought on how the council can ensure it does not buy material from a company that sold defective blocks

A county councillor has called for confirmation from Donegal County Council that more than one company is responsible for supplying defective blocks in the county.

Cllr Liam Blaney also repeated a call for the council to stop buying material from any company that had been found to have sold defective materials.

Speaking at Wednesday’s council meeting, the Fianna Fáil councillor questioned legal opinion previously given to the council that it could not stop purchasing materials from companies accused of supplying defective materials.

He said it is within the council’s rights to refuse to purchase material from a company that is proven to have sold defective blocks and called on a second legal opinion on the issue.

Independent councillor Frank McBrearty also questioned the legal advice that there was no mechanism in place for the council to stop buying material from companies that had sold defective material.

Cllr Marie Therese Gallagher backed the call for a second legal opinion and asked how can the council ensure it does not buy material from a company that sold defective blocks.

Cllr Blaney called on the council to confirm from its investigations that defective blocks used in house building in the county had been sold by more than one company.

“I don’t think it is right to be naming any company because in my opinion and from the information I have, it is a lot more than one company sold defective materials as far as house building is concerned,” he said.

He said if it is the case that more than one company sold defective blocks, "it is important to get the word out there and get people to check their houses no matter who you bought your blocks from”.

Council chief executive John McLaughlin said the council may be in possession of that information from applications to the mica redress scheme but the council would need to ensure it is able to release information from applications.

Purchase of mica houses

Cllr McBrearty and Sinn Féin councillor Albert Doherty both questioned the council over the purchase of five houses at  An Crannla in Buncrana for €600,000 that were found to be infected with mica.

Cllr McBrearty said the council had given an incomplete report on the purchase of the houses and called for the properties to be "properly tested so we know what is wrong with them".

Both councillors told the meeting they had sought files on the purchase of the houses through freedom of information (FoI) requests.

Cllr McBrearty said he had submitted the request "because I can’t get any answers from the council".

"Tell me now if I am entitled to the file and if not give me the legal reason why I am not entitled to the file,” he said.

Mr McLaughlin said the file on the purchase of the houses is going through the FoI process and a decision “is imminent”.

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