Donegal TD Thomas Pringle has called on the Government to ensure the National Standards Authority of Ireland takes on board a new study into defective blocks in Donegal.
Earlier this month, a peer reviewed article investigating concrete block failure in Donegal homes was published in a leading journal (read more here). The research claims that the geological mineral ‘mica’ is not the primary reason why thousands of homes in Donegal are crumbling. Experts reported evidence that the mineral pyrrhotite present in the aggregate accounts for the phenomenon of concrete failure.
Addressing the Tánaiste in the Dáil today, Deputy Pringle said: “The defective block issue in Donegal runs and runs. We have seen this week in the local papers the bizarre situation where a semi-detached house was demolished and the other house left standing because of the way the scheme is being allowed to operate in the county.
“We also now thankfully have a peer-reviewed study, published by Andreas Leemann, an expert in concrete issues who has worked with Professor Paul Dunlop, himself a defective block sufferer. The study clearly shows that pyrite and pyrrhotite and other substances are the cause of the defective block issue.
“The National Standards Authority of Ireland needs to take that on board,” he said.
The mica freeze-thaw theory was proposed by a government report published in 2017 and incorporated into the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) testing and remediation standard I.S.464.
The deputy raised the issue with the Tánaiste during questions on policy or legislation.
Referred to the recent study in the June 2023 issue of the journal, Cement and Concrete Research, Deputy Pringle asked the Tánaiste: “Will you contact the National Standards Authority of Ireland to ensure that they amend ISO 465 to reflect this as a matter of urgency, as this is vital to many of the defective block householders to get an adequate response.”
In his response, the Tánaiste, Micheál Martin, said it was his understanding that the NSAI were reviewing it and said he would check that again and come back to Deputy Pringle on the matter. He said he was informed that about 812 applications to the mica scheme have been approved to date.