Donegal block supplier respond to Mica concerns

A block-making firm which is at the centre of the defected block issue in Donegal has issued a statement regarding the on-going controversy.

Cassidy Brothers, from Buncrana, spoke out yesterday to address what it has described as 'misinformation' and 'serious allegations' made by some media outlets.

The statement is the first to be issued by Cassidy Bros regarding damage to masonry blocks in Donegal homes.

In the statement “Cassidy Bros said that it fully recognises the genuine hardships suffered by people in Donegal whose properties are affected by damage to block work.

The firm continued by stating that it has sincere sympathy for those whose properties have been affected.

Cassidy Bros also apologised for not offering comment sooner due to constraints imposed as a result of a legal action.

However, the firm now feels that there is a greater importance to be placed on acknowledging the torment of the people affected.

Cassidy Borthers said it wholeheartedly backs homeowners in their calls for the implementation of an appropriate Government remediation scheme as soon as possible:

“They are to be commended for their continued and hard-fought campaign for redress.

“We acknowledge that homes exhibiting problems in Donegal were built using blocks purchased from a number of suppliers. We further acknowledge that similar problems in blockwork have been identified in other areas of Ireland where aggregate types used contain completely different rock constituents.

“We believe it is necessary to define the exact cause of the damage to homes in order to limit the spread of misinformation.

“Inaccurate reporting and commentary continues to take its toll, most notably on our hard-working and dedicated employees.

“The continued circulation of misinformation jeopardises the very future of Cassidy Bros as a large-scale, local employer in Donegal.

“Investigations have confirmed that Cassidy Bros’ masonry blocks – tested at point of manufacture – have at all times, past and present, complied with all relevant Government standards, regulations and specifications. Cassidy Bros is a local, family-owned and run business which has been a proud part of the north Donegal community for generations.

“These issues were never envisaged by block manufacturers nor indeed reflected in the industry standards set down by the Government.

“We welcome and embrace the recent introduction of regulations for increased block strength in line with expert recommendations. We further welcome that local architects are now specifying the use of blocks which are 2.6 times stronger than the previous Government standard and that experts are recommending the use of a render type which is appropriate for Donegal weather conditions.

“A number of recommendations, resulting from investigations by leading independent experts in concrete technology and geology, were last month included in a public consultation submission by Cassidy Bros to the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI).

“The submission regarded the standard protocol (I.S. 465:201x) for the assessment, testing and categorisation of the damaged buildings in Donegal and elsewhere.

“The submission represented the first opportunity for Cassidy Bros to contribute to the important process of providing concerned homeowners with evidenced-based reasons for deterioration in their properties.

“We felt it was appropriate to follow up on the submission to the NSAI with this public statement.

“We believe establishing the facts by using appropriate scientific methods and adequate testing recommended by leading experts will allow for the establishment of a full and fair assessment of the damage to homes in Donegal.”