Concern over scale of pyrite issue in Clare

Clare Independent TD Michael McNamara has expressed concern that the number of Clare homes compromised by Pyrite defective blocks is much greater than previously anticipated after Clare County Council confirmed to him that two Local Authority built estates may be affected.

In January 2021, Clare County Council commenced a study of the likely extent of the problem within Clare following a request by Deputy McNamara to the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage for Clare to be included in a 100% fully funded Defective Concrete Blocks Grant Scheme.

Deputy McNamara who said he had been contacted by homeowners of the estimated 35 homes across Clare which have experienced significant cracking of external walls.

“Dozens of private houses in Clare have been found to be essentially crumbling a result of defective concrete blocks. Owners have had engineers examine the dwellings and it has been found that it is as a result of pyrite in the concrete,” explained Deputy McNamara.

He continued, “Ahead of preparing a submission for the Department, the local authority is currently analysing test data from 5 private properties potentially affected by pyrite. While the full results are expected at the end of June, the present indication is that pyrite is present in the blockwork of these homes.”

Deputy McNamara said the scale of the problem is likely to be “much greater than initially believed.”

“Clare County Council has informed me that in the course of surveying the five private properties it has identified that two local authority-built estates may be affected,” he said. “Testing of the affected properties will be carried out in the coming days. The Housing Department informed that the estates in question were part of the Council’s Stock Condition Survey during 2018 and until recently showed no sign of having any structural problems.”

Deputy McNamara added, “Clare County Council has also issued Tender Documents to 6 qualified consultant engineers. The closing date is this Friday and will be followed by tender assessment and appointment. The final report on the scale of the problem in Clare is expected to be issued to the Department during the third quarter of this year.”

Deputy McNamara expressed his hope that the Council survey will result in a fully funded Defective Concrete Blocks Grant Scheme being extended to Clare.

“If the Government saw fit to fund a scheme like this in respect of Mayo and Donegal, I see no reason whatsoever why Clare constituents and any other householders in the country who suffer from the same problem should not be treated in exactly the same way by the Government. It is a matter of basic equality. It is critical however, as has been called for by campaign groups protesting in Dublin today, that any future scheme be 100% fully funded,” he said.

“I look forward to Clare County making its submission to the Department that could lead to an improved scheme being extended to Clare,” concluded Deputy McNamara.