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25/07/2021

Donegal Co Council's mica strategy questioned

Follow up to Expert Panel's report queried

Donegal Co Council's mica strategy questioned

Cllr Gerry McMonagle

Donegal County Council's strategy to deal with those affected by the mica housing crisis was questioned by Letterkenny councillor Gerry McMonagle.

He also asked why there was no follow-up to the Expert Panel's report or legal action taken as a result of it.

He made his remarks at Friday's special online council meeting.

"Why did we give the 25 year extension to the [Cassidy] quarry despite the issues that were being raised? This is something we should be upfront about.

"We are getting calls every day from tenants and homeowners who are living in houses that are not fit for purpose and literally falling down around them and posing a severe threat to their physical and mental wellbeing. We don't seem to have any answers, what is our strategy for dealing with it?

"What are we doing for the 1,000 council tenants who we believe have houses suffering from mica or those who have houses that are riddled with damp and plaster falling off the walls, inside and out? We haven't got the houses to put them into. We don't seem to have a plan to get these houses or build them. I would like answers," he said.

He added he also wanted to know what testing had been done and how much funding the council had applied for to do this.

"If we take down an outer leaf and fix it and in a few years time the inner leaf starts showing signs of mica are we able to go back and sort it out or are individual home owners to do that?

He said if engineers were not going to stand over anything other than full demolition how were the council going to deal with that.

"How are we going to work with those families and how long will it take us to put a strategy in place that is going to help so they don't have to live this nightmare for years and years," he added.

Cllr McMonagle urged the council executive to start planning for these families by identifying sites and houses and acquiring them through Compulsory Purchase Orders or start building them now.

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