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Westport homes latest to face pyrite nightmare


Residents of Pairc na Coille to meet with Mayo County Council this week

Michael Gallagher

The pyrite scourge that has blighted hundreds of Mayo homes has been detected in a Westport housing estate.
The Mayo News understands that residents of Pairc na Coille on the Golf Course Road will meet with Mayo County Council’s Director of Housing, Roads and Service Development, Tom Gilligan, on Thursday evening to discuss the matter.
Mr Gilligan said he is aware of the anxiety being experienced by these home owners, and stated that it is important to develop clear lines of communication.
“We are aware of this information from the estate in Westport, and at this moment we are not aware of any other estate impacted in the town,” he told The Mayo News.
“I’m meeting the residents on Thursday and will be talking to them in relation to our role and the whole Defective Concrete Blocks Scheme. There is so much fear and anxiety over this, which makes it hugely important that people have all information possible.
“The new, enhanced scheme was announced by the Government (in November), but it still has to go through legislation in order for it to be enacted. As of yet, elements have to go through the Dáil and be approved by the Oireachtas. We’re a little bit in limbo until that happens,” he added.

Urging action
Westport-based county councillor, Christy Hyland said the issue needs to be addressed by all concerned and a solution found urgently.
“We cannot bury our heads in the sand. People’s homes are impacted and they need support and assistance. This isn’t a Westport issue or a Mayo issue, this is a national issue and we need to solve it and solve it quickly,” he said, adding: “If everyone works together and addresses it correctly we can help allay people’s fears. A person’s home is their castle.”
The pyrite contamination initially impacted homes in Erris over a decade ago. The mineral can physically undermine blocks and the structures they have been used to build when exposed to the elements.

Spreading problem
Beyond Erris, evidence of pyrite damage has been reported in many other areas of the county, including Foxford, Crossmolina, Killala and Castlebar, as well as in Enniscrone in Sligo. Impacted properties are understood to have mostly been constructed between 2000 and 2006.
Mr Gilligan agreed that the problem seems to be spreading across the county. “From our own evidence the majority of it has manifested itself in north Mayo, but [we] have had applications for the Defective Concrete Blocks Scheme from all of our municipal districts.”


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