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Minister Darragh O'Brien (right) is questioned by members of the Clare Pyrite Action Group at the home of Mary and Séamus Hanley at Drumline.

More pyrite cases emerge in east of county

FURTHER concerns have emerged over potential pyrite damage to a number of homes in the South East Clare area.
It is understood that publicity around the issue of defective blocks and the visit of the Housing Minister to see a badly affected home in Drumline has prompted other homeowners to come forward.
Following a number of calls to The Champion from concerned homeowners, Councillor Patrick O’Gorman confirmed that he has also been contacted.
“There are definitely more people who now realise that their houses may be affected,” the Cratloe man said.
“As recently as last weekend, I’ve met homeowners who believe there may be pyrite in their homes. In one case, a couple have decided they’re going to have to sleep at one end of their house, because of their fears over the condition of the other side of it.
“It’s a very worrying situation and it’s only after the issue was highlighted in the media by the action group that people are realising that the cracks in their homes may be caused by pyrite.”
Councillor O’Gorman urged anyone with concerns to join the Clare Pyrite Action Group.
“The more people who join, the stronger the group will be,” he said.
“Martina [Cleary] and Mary [Hanley] and the others have done great work and it’s essential that people come together on this. The Housing Minister has indicated that that a decision will be made soon on giving the grant to Clare homeowners and that’s thanks to the work of the action group.”
The Fianna Fåil member also voiced his support for the campaign to increase the level of grant support from 90 to 100%. “
People are living in limbo at the moment and they’re in fear,” Councillor O’Gorman said.
“To be honest, anything less than 100% grant support is not good enough. Lots of people in this situation are retired and they’re after paying off a mortgage and raising their families.
“Where are they going to get a buffer loan of tens of thousands of euros to make up the balance? How can they be expected to pay that kind of money back?”
Dr Martina Cleary who founded the Clare Pyrite Action Group a year ago urged anyone with concerns to join the organisation.
“There are certainly a number of properties affected around Drumline, Shannon, Cratloe and elsewhere along the Limerick border,” she said.
“We are urging people to join the group if they have concerns and we have members from every corner of the county to date.”
A report compiled by Clare County Council to make the case for the extension of the grant scheme has demonstrated the presence of pyrite in properties across the county.
That report is still being considered by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage.
A decision is expected very soon following the visit of Minister Darragh O’Brien at the end of August.
Among the engagements on the Minister’s itinerary was a visit to the home of Mary and Seamus Hanley in Drumline, which has severe pyrite damage.
Last week, a working group set up to review that scheme, submitted its final report to government.
The document makes a number of recommendations, including a call for an increase to 100% in the support available from the Defective Concrete Blocks Scheme.

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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