A Donegal County Councillor is calling on the Taoiseach to establish a dedicated task force to support Mica families.
The health and wellbeing of families have been so badly impacted by the crisis that they need cross-sectoral intervention, according to Sinn Fein Cllr Albert Doherty.
The Inishowen Cllr said there are many “societal ills” resulting from Mica, Pyrite and Pyrrhotite in homes and buildings across the region.
“Early intervention response is urgently required involving many government departments, many local authorities, approved housing bodies, the HSE, homeless charities, education boards and other relevant groups so that they can prevent homelessness, ensure the provision of family emergency accommodation and provide much required mental health supports,” Cllr Doherty told this month’s meeting of Donegal County Council.
He added that students and staff in the education sector are particularly affected.
Cllr Doherty, who is Chairperson of Donegal ETB, told the council that senior management in schools are reporting the detrimental effect that living in Mica homes has on children.
“Students come to school worried, concerned for the future of their family, realising the significant financial investment that their parents have made and now seeing the heartbreaking presence of Mica in the structures of their houses.
“Students are finding difficult to concentrate, are experiencing heightened emotions, and as such are not realising their full potential,” Cllr Doherty said.
He said the government must ensure that staff and pupils get positive wellbeing supports to teach and learn.
Donegal County Council is set to write to An Taoiseach Micheál Martin after Cllr Doherty’s motion was passed on Wednesday.
Independent Councillor Michael McBride also made the call for a meeting with the HSE to ensure that a fully resourced counselling service is in place in Donegal to deal with individual/families suffering stress from the blight of mica.
Cllr McBride said the HSE staffing issues are a cause for concern, given the number of families that are struggling mentally.
“We are not in a position to afford a reduced team working on mental health in Donegal,” Cllr McBride said.