The government authorized the defective concrete scandal

A motion to change the name of Donegal County Council’s Mica Repair Committee to Defective Concrete and Defective Concrete Blocks Committee is due to come to full council later this month.

The motion was moved by Cllr Frank McBrearty (Independent) and seconded by Cllr Martin McDermott (Fianna Fáil), who chairs the appeals committee, at its meeting on Thursday.

Cllr McBrearty said the name change was crucial to reflect that Mica was no longer the issue.

He added: “The predominant problem is that of iron sulphide ores. Mica is only part of the problem, along with reactive pyrite.

“I propose that the name of this committee be changed to reflect the real cause of the problem in homes and properties in Donegal. The word ‘Mica’ confuses the whole subject.

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“The scheme should be called the faulty concrete scheme because the foundations are also affected by these aggregates and minerals and concrete means all concrete products.

“It is in the IS EN 771-3 legislation [Irish Standard adopting the harmonised EU standard for Aggregate Concrete Masonry Units] and IS EN 12620:2002 [Aggregates for Concrete].

Cllr McBrearty also argued that the 90/10 repair program had been suspended and that the enhanced concrete block defect grant program had been described as “unworkable” by one of the creators of IS 465:2018. [Protocol used to assess damage in properties where the concrete blocks are suspected to contain Mica or Pyrite].

He said: ‘The improved diet proposed today will not work. I have made a submission and a request to the clerk of the Dáil committee who will be debating the whole subject and the bill before the Oireachtas in the coming weeks.

“This whole topic has been based on guesswork so far. Our Board engineers are well aware of what is contained in the visual estimates of results from Petrolab’s B test suite. They show that the predominant problem is minerals from iron sulfide, not mica Mica is a problem but mica is not the predominant problem.

“On this basis, Donegal County Council engineers have an ethical obligation to inform the public and inform the government that the problem in Donegal is not Mica.

“People who campaigned for this [Enhanced Scheme] politically and people who have campaigned for landlords have a right to do so but they are not listening to the facts about what is really the problem in Donegal. They asked for a number of things, which the government has now delivered that will continue to frustrate landlords in this county,” Cllr McBrearty said.

Raphoe’s adviser said the biggest problem was that the upgraded scheme was based on the Pyrite Scheme scheme in Dublin and Leinster.

“The Leinster Pyrite problem is completely different from the problems we have in Donegal,” said Cllr McBrearty. “Problems in Donegal are: free muscovite mica, reactive pyrite, pyrrhotite, rare pyrite, minor pyrite, chalcopyrite, rare marcasite, sulfuric acid, thaumasite formation, secondary gypsum formation and other minerals and others formed from iron sulphides Jean Gallagher [Senior Engineer, Donegal County Council] is well aware of this as a qualified civil structural engineer.

“Ultimately, IS 465 is flawed. It was created around a standard that didn’t exist. It should have been created on the manufacturing standards of concrete and blockwork. Concrete is the subject, not the concrete blocks The standards are based on concrete, which all products fall under.

“What the public doesn’t realize is that everyone who has been reimbursed for their engineer’s fees will have their engineer’s report and test results discarded. Under the enhanced program, they will have to start the whole process all over again by getting a building condition assessment. Then they will have to exceed the damage threshold, as is the case in the Pyrite Scheme in Dublin.

“The enhanced program was designed around certain harmful materials. IS 465 fails for iron sulfide ores. I base my opinion on peer-reviewed literature published around the world on this whole subject. I have also been in correspondence with Dr Andreas Leeman [Switzerland] an international expert on iron sulphide attack. The owners of Donegal are being pushed around by a government that has deliberately manipulated the whole situation and we are now faced with the fact that they are going to pass a bill which will not include the material outlined in my recent motions on the matter,” said said Cllr. Mc Brearty.

Cllr McBrearty placed the blame for the problem on the government, which he said had no proper oversight or oversight of the industry.

He added: ‘Donegal County Council has also failed to monitor this industry under building control legislation and market surveillance legislation in force since 2014.

“I now ask this committee to be the voice of the people of Donegal. We are the representatives of the public and must now lobby the government directly as it is our democratic mandate to do so, to represent the people and to raise the issue of this scandal in Donegal. Council of the various political parties in direct contact with their national parties.

“I want to bring my submission to the Dáil committee, along with experts such as: Dr. Ambrose McCloskey; Professor Paul Dunlop and Dr Andreas Leeman.

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“This committee needs to understand exactly what the problem is in Donegal. He needs to hear the experience and expertise backed up by appropriate scientific evidence, to produce appropriate engineering solutions advised by appropriate engineers. Options 2, 3, 4 and 5 should be immediately removed from this process. The first option, complete demolition, is the only option open to remedy this problem and solve the problems for the owners, ”said Cllr McBrearty.

He added that the government was delaying dealing with the issue of defective concrete so that it would not have to pay for the mistakes it caused.

“The government allowed this to happen. It has failed to protect our rights as owners and as citizens of this country.

“A desktop study and guesswork was created to address the issue. The role of this committee now, in my view, is to be the voice of the people of Donegal as the government uses the campaigners.

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