MAG says latest DCB research shows official policy is flawed

The Mica Action Group has written to both Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien and the CEO of the National Standards Authority of Ireland, asking if they are deliberately withholding critical information provided last year by the Geological Survey of Ireland.

MAG Chairperson Lisa Hone says the latest research clearly shows that the primary cause of defective blocks in Donegal is internal sulphate attack caused by pyrrhotite.

She believes this information, which she says they secured through a Freedom of Information request, clearly contradicts the research which is still being used in determining policy regarding remediation……………


Release in full –

Media Release

Today MAG has written to both Darragh O’Brien Minister for Housing and Geraldine Larkin CEO of the National
Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI), to ask if they are deliberately withholding critical information from the public
with regard to undeniable research results into the defective concrete issue, and why they have failed to act given they
have been party to such clear information for months.
The question comes after MAG recently obtained a statement as a result of a freedom of information request made in
March 2024 to the Department of the Environment which sought “a copy of all interim and final results, conclusions
and statements submitted to the NSAI as a result of research commissioned by the GSI into the issue of defective concrete
in Ireland.”
The FOI request yielded a statement from the Geological Survey Ireland (GSI) sent to the NSAI in the 4th quarter of
2023, concerning research results which they regarded of as “sufficient importance to identify in advance of final receipt
of outcomes”.

The contents of the statement reveal that all research partners agree that their scientific research evidence the primary
cause of the defective concrete issue in Donegal as internal sulphate attack as a result of excessive pyrrhotite in the
concrete aggregate. It goes on to state the pattern of building damage within Donegal properties are consistent with
test results from properties in Mayo and are characteristic of blocks affected by internal sulphate attack (ISA).
The statement also details that “pyrrhotite has been consistently identified within the strip foundations examined from
affected buildings” and that “liberated pyrrhotite identified within the strip foundations shows early evidence of
oxidation…. indicating incipient ISA. This is considerably less advanced than in the rising wall but does pose a long term

Chair of MAG Lisa Hone states, “We sought information about the status of the on-going research via FOIs as we are
increasingly exasperated and concerned about seeing homeowners in Donegal pushed towards inappropriate
remediation recommendations, particularly partial remediations, based on the now discredited IS465 as opposed to the
latest science. Remediation decisions have to be science led to ensure that homes will not fail again and that this issue is
eliminated from every aspect of homeowners’ lives.

The importance of the statement the FOI request has yielded is that it is so unequivocal and agreed by all the research
partners involved in the investigations into the issue of defective concrete in Donegal. Both the NSAI and the Department
of Housing know how urgent and critical the research is given that the scheme is already live. It is utterly shameful that
the NSAI has had this since the end of 2023 and has not acted upon it given that their CEO Geraldine Larkin stated that
they would issue interim guidance should this be considered useful or proportionate.
The research partners are all clearly saying homes in Donegal are cracking and crumbling for exactly the same reason as
in Mayo, internal sulphate attack not because of freeze/thaw. And despite Government expert opinion saying otherwise,
the research has revealed that there is a risk to poured concrete foundations – not to act on such clear information with
immediate effect is negligent and reckless.”