Buncrana family’s heartbreak as mica home demolished

A BUNCRANA family have been left heartbroken after they watched their home become one of the first houses in the county to be demolished due to mica. 
Gary and Emma Breslin along with their two children Cole (10) and Lacey (8) from Ludden watched on Monday as their two-storey home was stripped down to a single storey, with the remainder of the house to be tumbled by the end of the week.
The roof of the house was taken off the house intact in the hope that it can be reused, while the rest of the home will be rebuilt from scratch.
The house was built in 2006 and 2007, but in 2015, cracks started to appear and it became apparent that the house had mica.
While the house is being rebuilt, the family are living in a mobile home on the site.
Speaking to the Donegal News, Gary said it was tough for his family as they watched the house come down so quickly.
“It was a difficult day and very hard to watch. I left work to watch the roof come off and went back but by evening, the house was down to a bungalow. It happened so quickly.
“The remainder of the house will be down this week some time but we hope to start rebuilding in the coming weeks,” he said.
While it was a shock for the family to see the house demolished, Mr Breslin said it was a step forward as he was glad to finally get the process started.
In March 2020, the couple started the mica redress scheme process but said it has been ‘agonisingly slow’. It has taken until now to get permission for the demolition.
“In March 2020, we got an engineer involved, got a contractor and samples taken and did everything required but it has been far too slow.
“There is a lot of red tape, and when the Council was gathering information, they would ask for one thing and forget to ask for something else so it would be another two weeks before they came back to us to ask for what they needed.
“In stage two, I filled out everything and heard nothing for five weeks.
“They then came back and asked for the plans for both the old and new house when this should have been done five weeks beforehand. It was extremely frustrating.
“We had to go through planning permission for the new house and the engineer has got us samples from some block companies to make sure they are okay to be built with this time,” he said.
He attended the Mica protest in Dublin in June and has been heavily involved in raising awareness of the mica crisis in Donegal. He was grateful to have the support from local people who are also in the same situation.
“We have received a lot of great support from our neighbours and even the tradesmen who have been very helpful and supportive. Some of the tradesmen who helped get us sorted in the mobile home  gave me a bill but haven’t even looked for the money yet because of our situation.
“Everyone has been very good and helpful so we are grateful for that,” he said.

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