A submission by the Department of Housing has been requested from Clare County Council regarding the potential extension of the Defective Concrete Blocks Grant Scheme to affected homes in Clare.
Up to 35 homeowners in Clare have reported significant cracking of external walls due to the presence of pyrite in the building blocks used to construct the houses.
Engagement has been ongoing between the Irish Government and Clare County Council on the matter since November. In August, Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien (FF) announced a new defective concrete blocks scheme for Mayo and Donegal offfering five remedial options.
Separate grant limits apply to each option, ranging from €247,500 for the complete demolition and rebuilding of a dwelling to €49,500 for the demolition and rebuilding of the outer leaf of affected walls only. Funding is subject to option limits or 90% of the eligible works, whichever is the lesser.
Clare County Council have been requested by the Department to make a submission to justify any scheme extension. The local authority will soon commence the process of procuring a consultant engineer to assist with the overall submission. Test data from five private properties potentially affected will be included.
Deputy Michael McNamara (IND) has previously flagged the matter in Dáil Éireann. He believed it was “basic equality” to extend the scheme to Clare. “One manufacturer of concrete blocks in the Mid-West links all of those buildings. It is an issue which goes beyond Clare. I understand 35 people are involved in an action group and approximately 33 houses have been identified in Clare. Unfortunately, there is a belief that the problem extends outside of Clare to other areas in the Mid-West because it is a result of concrete blocks from one particular manufacturer”.
He added, “If the Government saw fit to fund a scheme like this in respect of Mayo and Donegal, which I welcome, I see no reason whatsoever my constituents and any other constituents in the country who suffer from exactly the same problem should not be treated in exactly the same way by the Government. It is a matter of basic equality. I welcome the Department’s decision to request Clare County Council to put forward a case that could lead to the scheme being extended to Clare”.