Fatalities, insurance premiums and defective (mica) concrete blocks

In 2013, a defective wall collapsed in central Melbourne, Australia, killing three people. This could be a worst-case-scenario for similar structures in County Donegal, County Mayo and other districts with defective concrete blocks in Ireland.

The collapse was precipitated by the connection of hoarding and signage to a wall which was already defective.

The sum of legal costs, criminal fines and insurance payments far exceed the cost of reconstructing a defective wall.

I graduated from the engineering school at University of Melbourne. Given that Australia's two leading engineering schools are located on Swanston Street, I used to pass by the location of these fatalities on a daily basis.

In Ireland's defective concrete situation, the existing remediation plan from the Irish government has chosen to limit compensation to owner occupiers in their own homes. Other structures, including holiday homes, extensions, sheds and perimeter walls that fall outside the compensation scheme may not be identified and remediated as promptly as they should be.

Structures which are not proactively identified and made safe are a risk for future generations of the workforce, occupiers, neighbors and visitors to those districts. People may attach hoardings or attempt to modify structures in the future without realizing that defective blocks are present.

Based on my efforts canvassing for votes in the area, I found there are a significant number of residents who are nervous about having their homes checked due to the risk of adverse decisions on compensation and insurance coverage. The program and communication about it needs to be revised urgently so that people come forward without hesitation to get their structures checked.

A report from safety authorities tells us:

The wooden hoarding was approximately 300mm higher than the brick wall, which had significant cracks in its base.

I went up to County Donegal to have a look at the problem. This photo was taken with Ali Farren of the new 100 percent redress party running in local elections. We're standing outside his home in Malin Head.

Daniel Pocock, Ali Farren

Please read more about my candidacy for the European Parliament.