Expert group probe into Mayo homes damaged by pyrite and mica progresses

Mayo Fine Gael TD Michelle Mulherin has welcomed the news that a chairperson is soon to be appointed to the expert group set up to investigate the problems that have been caused to dwelling houses in Mayo and Donegal by pyrite and mica in concrete blocks.

Deputy Mulherin has been pursuing the issue with Paudie Coffey, Minister with Responsibility for Housing, Planning, and Coordination of the Construction 2020 Strategy, who has also informed her that he will be seeking nominations from a number of professional bodies for suitable persons to participate in the group once the chairperson has been appointed.

She said this week: "I have raised the plight of Mayo homeowners whose houses have been damaged by pyrite in the Dáil and I have also been in contact with the Department of the Environment on an ongoing basis on behalf of my constituents who have gone through years of distress as a result of the structural problems to their homes. I now look forward to establishing the expert panel as soon as possible so that they can get to work and report back by 31st May 2016."

Deputy Mulherin continued: "The problems with concrete blocks in Mayo relates to blocks crumbling which gave rise to structural problems in the affected dwellings. Impurities such as muscovite mica and pyrite have been identified as constituent elements within some of the affected blocks." The expert group has been set up by Paudie Coffey, Minister with Responsibility for Housing, Planning and Coordination of the Construction 2020 Strategy.

The first term Dáil deputy concluded: "This expert group with a strong technical background, hopes to establish, insofar as it is possible, the number of affected dwellings in Mayo and Donegal, the root cause of the problems and the technical solutions for remediation.The expert group will have the following terms of reference: (1 ) To identify, insofar as it is possible, the numbers of private dwellings which appear to be affected by defects in the block-work in the Counties of Donegal and Mayo. (2 ) To carry out a desktop study, which would include a consultation process with affected homeowners, public representatives, local authorities, product manufacturers, building professionals, testing laboratories, industry stakeholders and other relevant parties, to establish the nature of the problem in the affected dwellings. (3 ) To outline a range of technical options for remediation and the means by which those technical options could be applied and to submit a report to the Minister of State by May 31."

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