Council plans to rebuild social housing stock affected by mica

AN integrated design team is being sought by Donegal County Council to progress the demolition of its social housing stock affected by mica and the building of new homes.

Two tender documents have been issued, one for Inishowen and a second for Letterkenny.

The design team will comprise of a lead engineer or architect with access to all the services necessary for a major property development.
Donegal County Council has previously expressed the belief that around 1,000 of the houses it owns have mica.


That is a fifth of its entire social housing stock.

The team’s job will be to develop single rural dwelling houses, semi-detached units and duplex apartment blocks within estates at various locations throughout Letterkenny and Inishowen.

The competition is being undertaken because Donegal County Council does not have the in-house resources available within the required timeline.

As the new builds do not require planning permission and all necessary services are already on site, the design team is being given just 19 weeks to come up with a programme.

After that, the expectation is that construction will take less than a year.

“For the construction stage Donegal County Council have expectations that the successful design team will operate to a 50-week contractor supervision and management programme, commencing at the contractor appointment stage to achieve practical completion and handover (Week 50),” tender documents reveal.

Contractors are being warned of the possible presence of absestos due to the age of some of the buildings set to be demolished.


“Presence of asbestos currently unconfirmed however has been assumed due to age of existing properties,” the document adds.

It is anticipated the project will be funded by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage.

The design team will be in place for November of this year and will remain under contract for 18 months.

Meanwhile Sinn Féin has indicated plans to bring forward legislation shortly to address what it describes as the inadequacies in the government’s remediation scheme for mica families.

Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn said yesterday homeowners had bought houses in good faith and were the victims of “light touch regulation, negligence and greed during the Celtic Tiger era”.

“They should not have to pay to remediate them, nor should they be forced to live in defective buildings,” said the Inishowen TD.

“Sinn Féin is committed to delivering 100 per-cent redress for all those living in defective homes. We believe that the responsibility for funding the necessary redress schemes must be borne by both the State and industry, including the construction, quarry, block manufacturing, non-life insurance and banking sectors.”

Deputy Mac Lochlainn said his party was committed to ensuring at least €200 million of exchequer funding is provided next year for those affected by defective blocks.

“We have made provision for an additional €140 million in addition to the €60 million provided by the government in core funding for 2023. Sinn Féin would also pursue the creation of an industry fund, either through agreement or legislation with the relevant sectors.

“We note that the Minister for Finance Paschal Donohue indicated in July that he was exploring the establishment of a fund with a potential annual contribution of up to €80 million. Any funds raised through an industry contribution would be additional to committed government expenditure and both contributions would be multi annual. Sinn Féin will also bring forward legislation later this year to address the “inadequacies” of the government’s Remediation of Buildings Affected by the Use of Defective Concrete Block Act 2022, Pádraig Mac Lochlainn said.

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