Council not in a position to provide modular homes for mica homeowners

DONEGAL County Council held a special meeting in Lifford on Friday to discuss the steps they must take to immediately help those families whose homes are worst affected by defective concrete blocks.

The meeting included discussions surrounding the use of modular homes, the Council replied and said this was outside their remit.

During the meeting, Council Chief Executive, Mr John McLaughlin outlined that the council’s role is as administrators of the scheme and how this gets “misinterpreted” that they are behind the decision-making in the scheme.


He acknowledged the frustration of homeowners who were protesting outside council buildings and said the council was sympathetic but again emphasised the local authority’s limitations.

“We aren’t writing the scheme, we aren’t writing the rules, we are simply following them.

“It’s important to know what our powers and our limitations are. Our powers are quite limited except we have great strength as a county council as an elected body when placed in the right direction,” he added.

The idea of “unity” was cited by many of the councillors present.

Cllr Jack Murray said he “welcomed” the unity across the council on the issue, and added that there is no issue more important to the people of Donegal.

Cllr Johnny McGuinness used the Irish proverb, “Ní neart go cur le cheile”, which translated as there is no strength without unity. He also added that the Mica Action Group should be allowed to participate in these talks in future for full transparency.

Cllr Martin Farren also added that our representatives elected in the Oireachtas need to work together and “sing from the same hymn sheet”.


There was one idea that sparked widespread unity- modular homes, and how they were the best way forward for those affected by defective concrete blocks.

Cllr Gerry McMonagle, who tabled the meeting, was the first to highlight the need to look at modular homes.

He also emphasised that they must put in place a strategy for identifying those who are most in need, he suggested using the database that is already in place.

Cllr Michael McBride said that everyone there had the “same train of thought” which was that modular homes would be necessary in delivering the programme.

He welcomed the progress so far but said a lot of work still has to be done. “We are just at base camp, and we have a long way to go to the summit,” he said.

“Hopefully it’s like climbing Errigal and not Everest,” added Cllr Barry Sweeny.

In response to the suggestions, The Chief Executive, Mr McLaughlin was “brutally honest” with councillors as he told them that providing modular homes for those in private housing was outside the council’s remit.

“We are not going to mislead people in private houses, we are not looking at placing modular homes- that’s the fact of it. That may well change but today we are not,” he said.

Mr McLaughlin told the meeting that the council are looking into housing options for the 1,000 affected homeowners living in social housing, but they are not in the position to do the same for private homes.

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