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Council informed of pyrite in Clare in 2018

IT HAS emerged that problems with pyrite were brought to the attention of Clare County Council a number of years ago, by Deputy Joe Carey.
The Fine Gael TD confirmed that he raised the matter in the Dáil in 2018 and then contacted the local authority.
“I was advised by ministers to contact Clare County Council to put in train a submission, exactly what’s happening now,” he said.
“Unfortunately, Clare County Council didn’t act on that representation, which I made repeatedly to them back then.”
Correspondence, seen by The Champion, shows that Deputy Carey contacted the Council’s Chief Executive in April 2018, raising concerns after meeting a number of homeowners. He supplied the council with the reply to a Dáil question on the matter.
In his emails, Deputy Carey outlined how, in the case of Limerick, their chief executive had supported an application to the Pyrite Remediation Scheme, which funds repairs to foundations and hardcore.
He asked that efforts be made to have the plight of Clare homeowners addressed in a similar way.
In a statement, Clare County Council told The Champion it had received Deputy Carey’s correspondence three years ago.
“Deputy Joe Carey raised the issue with Clare County Council in April 2018,” the statement said.
“The Building Control Section had not been made aware of any issues pertaining to pyrite in County Clare at that time.
“Contact was made with the Building Standards Section of the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government with regard to the issue and the Department advised that it was a matter for the Pyrite Resolution Board to determine if the State Pyrite Remediation Scheme is to be extended to County Clare.”
In 2018, the scheme which applies to pyrite and mica in concrete blocks, had not yet been set up.
The Defective Concrete Blocks Grant Scheme opened in 2020 to homeowners in Mayo and Donegal only and Clare County Council completed an application for access to the scheme at the end of July.
When Minister for Housing, Darragh O’Brien visited Clare on Friday last, he strongly commended the work of the Council in compiling the technical report which involved core sampling five Clare properties and which calls for an extension of the scheme, as well as an increase in redress to 100%.
Despite that, there is a feeling among some homeowners that action could have been taken sooner. The minister himself confirmed on Friday that he had been told, when he was a Senator in 2012, about pyrite in Clare.
When asked if he had learned of the issue here from homeowners or public representatives, Minister O’Brien said: “I think it was a combination of both, it wasn’t just one.”
The Clare Pyrite Action Group was founded by Dr Martina Cleary in 2020 after she went public on her situation in The Champion.
Deputy O’Brien said on Friday that he expects a decision on the Council’s application to extend the scheme to be decided in “a matter of weeks”.

About Fiona McGarry

Fiona McGarry joined The Clare Champion as a reporter after a four-year stint as producer of Morning Focus on Clare FM. Prior to that she worked for various radio, print and online titles, including Newstalk, Maximum Media and The Tuam Herald. Fiona’s media career began in her native Mayo when she joined Midwest Radio. She is the maker of a number of radio documentaries, funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI). She has also availed of the Simon Cumbers Media Fund to report on development issues supported by Irish Aid in Haiti. She won a Justice Media Award for a short radio series on the work of Bedford Row Project, which supports prisoners and families in the Mid-West. Fiona also teaches on the Journalism programmes at NUI Galway. If you have a story and would like to get in touch with Fiona you can email her at fmcgarry@clarechampion.ie or telephone 065 6864146.

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