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The home of Mary and Séamus Hanley in Drumline which is severely affected by pyrite. Photo: John Kelly.

Over 1,000 Clare homes could be affected by pyrite

MORE than 1,000 homes in Clare could have pyrite, new research shows, with Newmarket-on-Fergus the worst hit area. 

A study unveiled by Clare Pyrite Action Group (CPAG) chairperson, Dr Martina Cleary, estimates that 1,025 homes and 11 public and private buildings have defective blocks.

A survey of 90 members of the CPAG, shows affected homes in 38 locations. Seven of these are in Newmarket. Drumline, Ennis, Kilkee, Kilrush and Sixmilebridge have five homes each. There are four properties in Cratloe, with the same number in Feakle, Kilkishen and Shannon.

Clonlara, Crusheen, Inagh and Miltown each has three pyrite-affected properties. There are two in each of Doolin, Doonbeg, Fanore, Ennistymon, Quin and Tulla. The remaining 19 are dotted across Clare. 

The findings were unveiled this week at a conference on the impact of defective blocks, hosted by the Technological University of the Shannon (TUS). The data shows that 17 private housing estates are affected and five Council developments. 

Respondents were also asked if they knew where their blocks came from. Around 61% identified the same source. Another source was identified by 8% of those surveyed. Just over 31% did not know the source. 

Dr Cleary also recalled highlighting the issue in August 2020, after an engineer’s report found pyrite in her home: “I Googled, ‘What is pyrite?’. I didn’t sleep for two nights. I was told by the Council that pyrite didn’t exist in Clare. I contacted The Clare Champion.

“I stayed anonymous at first, but I thought there must be more [cases]. By God, there are more. Within a week of the first story, I was contacted by four people. Within a month, I had 24. We have had to lobby and lobby and lobby.

“To-date, we have done 50 radio and TV interviews and 70 newspaper articles. The Council has been involved in extensive testing with Simon Beale, an expert on pyrite. At least €110,000 has been spent. At this stage, the writing is on the wall.”

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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