First of more than 1,000 mica actions admitted to fast-track court

Ó'Dochartaigh family from Malin Head suing Cassidy Brothers Concrete, Donegal County Council and NSAI

Homeowners from Donegal, Mayo and Clare have been campaigning for redress for homes allegedly damaged by defective concrete blocks. Photograph: Tom Honan

The first of at least 1,100 legal actions over the mica controversy has been admitted to the fast-track Commercial Court.

The case is being brought by husband and wife Liam Ó'Dochartaigh and Greinne Bean Uí Dochartaigh, teachers from Urbledreagh, Malin Head, Co Donegal. It will be among five “pathfinder” (test) cases which the court will be first asked to deal with.

The application for entry of the case into the commercial list first came before Mr Justice Denis McDonald last November. He postponed until January a decision on whether to admit the case to the fast-track court. He said there was a need for case management and for the parties to discuss how it should proceed given the importance of these cases.

Robert Fitzpatrick SC, for the Ó'Dochartaighs, said on Monday that following engagement between the sides, it was agreed there should be five “pathfinder” cases and the Ó'Dochartaigh case would be one of these. The cases will not include a claim for personal injuries as they will have to be taken separately, he said.


In their action, the Ó'Dochartaighs are suing Cassidy Brothers Concrete Products Ltd, Buncrana, Co Donegal, which supplied allegedly unfit-for-purpose blocks used to build their home.

They are also suing Donegal County Council as the “market surveillance authority” in relation to construction products.

They are also suing the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) for allegedly failing to perform its obligations as the national certification body for concrete products supplied by Cassidys. The NSAI made the application to have the cases admitted to the Commercial Court.

Mr Justice McDonald said it was appropriate to admit the Ó'Dochartaigh case to the commercial list so that matters can proceed in an orderly fashion. He said he was very grateful for all the work done by the parties which “may not be visible but I do appreciate it”.