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25/07/2021

Testing lab for mica needed says councillor


Role of quarries must be clarified

Testing lab for mica needed says councillor

There's been a call to set up a lab in Donegal to test for mica

The establishment of a lab in Donegal to specifically test for mica and a thorough examination of the roles various quarries played in the mica scandal were mooted by councillors at Friday's special online meeting of Donegal County Council.

Cllr Gary Doherty said at the moment people felt they were not getting the full answers to their many questions.

"The Working Group is the only show in town at the moment. We are all putting our hope that we will get the resolution to 100% redress from it over the coming weeks."

He questioned what the council was doing to get the necessary expertise into Donegal on a permanent basis to deal with the many questions around mica.

"I have submitted a question for the next council meeting asking whether this council can establish a mica testing lab within the county, either in-house or working with LyiT.

"There is no doubt to me the expertise is within the county to carry out this testing.

He referred to engineer Dr Ambrose McCloskey's concerns about only replacing the outer leaf of a house.

"These were points that were raised and highlighted by the mica Expert Panel report back in 2017. We knew with the publication of that report that replacing only the outer leaf would leave serious questions as to the structural integrity of the remaining building and there would be doubts on the ability of an engineer to sign off on them."

He added each home needed to be investigated to establish what remedial works would be needed, work and not work.

"Simply letting each applicant look after themselves and source their own engineers tests is inefficient in the extreme and we need to streamline that process which would work better for the applications and the application process. and prevent a long wait for people who are trying to get on the scheme to get remedial works done."

Cllr Gerry Crawford said they needed an explanation for what role the council had in the licensing of the quarries in the past and going forward.

"How do we come to a stage that we know that the houses now being built are not affected by mica and when were defective blocks stopped being used in home construction

"There are many families in the early stages of occupying houses who may not be aware or see any signs of mica but who are increasingly concerned that could be their fate," he said.

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