Call made to widen scope of investigation into defective blocks in council properties

Defective blocks issue raised in Lifford Council chamber

Call made to widen scope of investigation into defective blocks in council properties

Donegal county councillors want the expert panel investigating problems with concrete block work to review the problem of those blocks in council-owned properties.

Sinn Féin Cllr. Albert Doherty called the current terms of reference of the panel, "totally inadequate" to investigate the extent of the problem for householders.

At today's (Monday) May meeting of Donegal County Council, Cllr. Doherty tabled a motion calling on the council to urge the new Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, Simon Coveney, TD, to widen the terms of reference to include an investigation of the extent of the defective blocks and mica problem on publicly owned buildings, schools, council houses and council buildings.

Cllr. Doherty welcomed the establishment of the expert panel and said he appreciated the panel's recent visit to County House.

However, he said the council must seek a face-to-face meeting with Minister Simon Coveney to present the nature of the problem in Donegal and reasons why the panel's remit must be extended.

Last week Minister Coveney said he would await the outcome of the panel's report and see the recommendations that were suggested. But Cllr. Doherty said the minister had also said local authorities would be responsible for addressing any problems that emerged in their buildings.

Financial Burden

"Donegal County Council must now carry the financial burden of remediation," Cllr. Doherty said.

Cllr. Doherty had requested that a cross-party delegation from the council meet the previous minister on the issue, but this was not granted, he said.

Sinn Féin Cllr. Jack Murray, who seconded the motion, said, "For the life of me I can't understand why the minister decided [council buildings] should be excluded."

Joe Peoples, council director of corporate, housing and cultural services, said the council will be looking to the expert group to advise the council, and that council proposals for addressing the blocks issues will be consistent with the panel's findings.

See Thursday's Donegal Democrat for more from today's May meeting of Donegal County Council.

Caption:

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, Simon Coveney, TD, to widen the terms of reference to include an investigation of the extent of the defective blocks and mica problem on publicly owned buildings, schools, council houses and council buildings.