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Martina Cleary of The Clare Pyrite Action Group

Campaigner warns TDs defective blocks are all over Ireland

A WARNING has been issued by the founder of the Clare Pyrite Action Group (CPAG) that defective blocks may be present in every county in Ireland.

Addressing the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Housing last week, Dr Martina Cleary urged members to address the possibility that problems may come to light in many other counties.

“I will tell the eminent members of the committee that this problem may not yet be in their counties but it is coming,” she said.

“We currently know of defective concrete blocks, or suspicions of same, in 12 counties along the western and eastern seaboards. It is likely a problem in every county.

“The decisions the committee comes to and the recommendations it makes will be instrumental in influencing how this crisis plays out among members’ constituents, neighbours, friends and family.

“They may have defective concrete blocks in their homes and do not realise it. Do not let the situation play out elsewhere as it did in Donegal and Mayo.”

Dr Cleary addressed the committee at a session also attended by action group representatives from Mayo and Donegal, as well as Clare TDs Joe Carey, Cathal Crowe and Michael McNamara.

In two sessions that followed, the committee heard from expert engineers and Department of Housing officials.

“The statements of the eminently qualified witnesses who will contribute to the follow-on panels this afternoon arrived around midnight last night,” Dr Cleary told the committee.

“As I read their biographies, I could not help but reflect on the extraordinary situation we are in today.

“We, the ordinary homeowners, are facing the full power of the State, all of its resources and its ability to secure the most qualified and professional voices from the most established and respected bodies in the country.

“They are all working on behalf of the State to ensure its position will be unquestionable and upheld.

“It is impossible not to feel that we, the homeowners who are the victims, are on trial, and for what? For daring to expect more? For daring to demand more? For expecting that the homes we have worked hard to pay for and continue to pay for should stay standing around us?”

“We expected oversight of regulation to ensure that the blocks used to build our homes would be sound and enforced.

“We have been let down on so many levels, particularly by the State, which continues to fail in its duty to do right by its citizens, the ordinary workers and taxpayers of this country who are impacted by this issue. That is us; the people sitting before the committee today.”

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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