PYRITE has been confirmed in Shannon Garda Station, prompting a call for the government to mount a legal challenge against those who produced the defective material.
The presence of pyrite, which can cause severe cracking and other structural defects, was confirmed to Deputy Cathal Crowe, who said he will now seek answers from government on where that material came from.
The discovery was made after the Fianna Fáil TD queried that status of a request to have the building painted. In response to his question, the Office of Public Works (OPW), who manage thousands of public buildings, said pyrite had been detected. “A routine inspection early last year at Shannon Garda Station raised concerns in respect to cracking observed in the external façade of the building,” a reply outlined. “The OPW appointed external consultants to investigate the cause of this cracking and the consultant’s report confirmed the presence of pyrite in the external leaf of the building.”
Deputy Crowe described the situation as “shocking”. “It’s a no-brainer to say that the State should now use this as a test case against those responsible,” he said. “I imagine there will be a litany of documents and receipts that should confirm where the defective material came from. Homeowners have told me as recently as last Friday night that they want legal action. They want redress, of course, but they also want accountability. Large scale litigation will happen, but I will certainly be encouraging the government to take action on this one building, as a test case. I’m going to table questions in relation to the source of defective materials in this case.”
The response to Deputy Crowe’s question added that further investigations will take place and stressed that the building is in a safe condition. “Further in-depth testing is currently underway to determine the extent of pyrite present,” it said. “The OPW will assess the remediation options available, when the results of these additional investigations are complete. Based on the professional advice to date, the building is safe to occupy. The situation is being closely monitored with regular inspections scheduled. Works at Shannon Garda Station will be limited to necessary routine maintenance, with the proposed painting of the external façade on hold until further notice.”
In respect of remediation works, Deputy Crowe said the better option might be to relocate to a new building, which could incorporate the Motor Tax office. “This is a State-owned building which will need remediation,” he said. “In my view, there may be merit in considering the building of a new campus, somewhere in the town, that would consist of a Garda station and a new Motor Tax office. The Motor Tax office is currently in deplorable state and combining the two services in one building might be worth considering.”
The Meelick man also insisted that funding to remediate public buildings should not come at the cost of further delays to homeowners, hundreds of whom in Clare are awaiting access to a new grant scheme. “There should be no question that remediation of public buildings would somehow leap-frog homeowners, they have already been waiting too long,” he said.
In May of last year, Deputy Joe Carey tabled a parliamentary question about pyrite in an OPW-owned building in Clare. At the time, Junior Minister Patrick O’Donovan said the defective material had been confirmed in a public building, which he declined to identify.