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Tag Archives: Local Government and Heritage

Department challenges aspects of council’s pyrite report

SERIOUS questions have been raised over the council’s application to have the defective blocks grant extended to Clare, The Champion has learned. Despite an assurance from the Housing Minister in August that a decision would be made within “a matter of weeks”, his Department is challenging several aspects of the council’s submission. In November, Minister Darragh O’Brien told Clare Oireachtas members his Department’s concerns were not “insurmountable”. However, a letter issued on Monday poses far-reaching questions. The document queries whether pyrite is the only cause of damage to the five homes tested. “It is unclear whether the presence of pyrite has manifested itself in structural wall damage, or if the walls are damaged either wholly or partially by another cause,” the seven-page letter states. The document adds that while the technical report has confirmed excessive amounts of pyrite, “it has not been stated however that the damage which has been documented has manifested due to the presence of reactive pyrite, …

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Plea not to allow block blame distract from main purpose

“LIGHT touch regulation” has been blamed for the crisis caused by defective concrete blocks in several counties including Clare.  At a meeting of the Clare Pyrite Action Group last Friday, Senator Martin Conway said “cost-cutting”, on the part of some in the construction sector, had also contributed to the worsening problem. “It’s nobody’s fault in this room,” he told the 80 people present. “It’s as a result of light touch regulation that governments over the years are responsible for, particularly in the late ‘90s and early 2000s, when there was no proper engineering regulation, examinations, no proper reporting. “This type of situation happened because developers, builders, and suppliers were in a situation where they were cost cutting to make as much money as possible. It’s even going back further than the early ‘90s. “The sad reality is that people in this room have been devastated. Their homes have been devastated. The duty on this generation of politicians, as far as …

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Further protests likely over defective blocks issue

FURTHER national protests on the defective concrete blocks issue are likely, after the Department of Housing indicated it is unlikely to increase the level of redress available to homeowners. A position paper drawn up as part of a review of the Defective Concrete Blocks Grant Scheme also warned that any extension of the scheme to Clare, and other counties, will require very serious consideration. At the end of last month, the County Council submitted detailed evidence to support a call for the extension of the Defective Concrete Blocks Scheme to Clare. The authority also backed calls for an extension of redress levels from 90 to 100%. In its position paper, the Department of Housing has confirmed that Clare, Limerick, Tipperary and Sligo are seeking access to the scheme. It added that any changes that contribute to the further rise in the project costs of the programme – which could potentially have an upper ceiling of €2.5billion – would need detailed …

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Anger over lack of action on Inis Cealtra heritage designation

THE Burren will be the only Clare site proposed by the local authority for inclusion on a global list of outstanding heritage locations. The council confirmed to The Champion that an application is currently being made to keep The Burren on Ireland’s Tentative List. This means it could eventually go forward for potential future nomination to the UNESCO World Heritage List, joining the likes of Brú na Bóinne and Skellig Micheal. “Neither Inis Cealtra (Holy Island) nor Cahercommaun Ringfort are at present under consideration by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage in this round of nominations,” a council statement said. It added that the council is committed to “keeping this under review”. The news has met an angry response from Deputy Michael McNamara who previously called for the three Clare sites to be put forward, as well as Scattery Island (Inis Cathaigh) and Mooghaun Hillfort. “It beggars belief that the council would purchase Holy Island and a venue …

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Parnell Street re-vamp works are to re-commence confirms council

WORKS on the regeneration of Ennis’ Parnell Street are to re-start, Clare County Council have confirmed. A statement issued by the local authority this Monday stated, “Further to discussions at departmental level, a review of critical transport infrastructure projects has been undertaken and it is now appropriate to re-commence the Parnell Street, Laneways and Bow-ways Public Enhancement Scheme.” Ennis Chamber had urged that the works go-ahead while the country remains under Level 5 lockdown, with concerns raised last week by Ennis Chamber vice president Darragh McAllister about the effects delaying the project would have on local business. Reacting to the announcement of the recommencement of the works, Ennis Chamber CEO Margaret O’Brien said, “Ennis Chamber is delighted that clarifications sought from Minister Darragh O’Brien and the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, about re-starting public realm works in Ennis have been communicated to Clare County Council and that works will now re-commence.” On Thursday it was confirmed that Minister …

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Council getting to core of pyrite issue

TECHNICAL tests are to be carried out on a number of Clare homes to prove the presence of defective blocks and make the case for the extension of a redress scheme for those affected by pyrite or mica. Following representations from the county council to the Department of Housing, a detailed report on the extent of the issue has been requested. Of the 40 householders who have joined a Pyrite/Mica Action Group, five will now have a detailed and costly core-sampling process carried out on their homes. The results will be used to develop a profile of the extent of the problem in Clare and to make the case for the extension of the Defective Concrete Blocks Grant Scheme, which currently covers just Mayo and Donegal. “This is a fairly invasive process,” said Senator Timmy Dooley who hosted a virtual meeting between the action group and staff of the council. “It will prove what we know to be the case. …

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