Donegal County Council has ‘nothing to hide’ over the purchase of six mica affected houses in Buncrana.
The council’s CEO, Mr John McLaughlin, was speaking at yesterday’s local authority meeting where Councillor Frank McBrearty tried to raise an emergency motion on the issue.
The Raphoe councillor claimed the council paid ‘far too much’ for the houses that were built by a contractor with a ‘close association’ with Cassidy Bros. He also claimed the council knew the houses were affected with mica, before going ahead with the purchase.
However, Mr McLaughlin said, the motion could not go ahead yesterday as the council needed to take legal advice due to the ‘naming of names’ by Cllr McBrearty.
“Cllr McBrearty (in his motion) has named current and former members of staff of the council as well as members of the public,” Mr McLaughlin said.
“Six homes were bought, we have nothing to hide and we will go through it all with you (councillors) when we get our legal advice. The council has great sympathy and empathy with home owners and we ourselves have some social houses that are affected.”
Mr McLaughlin added that Cllr McBrearty had also asked questions about the council’s role in the mica block controversy.
“We are working on that (response) too, starting back from 1980 and that will all be published at the next meeting along with the legal advice. Those houses were bought over a year ago, so it’s not for an emergency motion and it can wait another few weeks.”
Cllr McBrearty replied that he had made no allegations.
“I made no allegations, I just want a statement from those involved. The CEO can get all the legal advice he wants, but I have already got this checked with my legal team. This is in the public interest and the CEO’s legal advice will not stand up in a court of law.”
The Cathaoirleach of the council, Cllr Rena Donaghey, said ‘everyone was OK’ with what Mr McLaughlin had said.
“When Frank wrote to me, I decided it was an issue for the Inishowen MD and it was discussed at our meeting last week,” she said.
“I brought it to the Inishowen members and they agreed they are happy enough with it. They know the houses were bought with a discount and they contained a very low content of mica.”
Cllr Liam Blaney said Cllr McBrearty’s motion was nothing other than ‘nonsense and headline grabbing’.