Mica – political will and technical issues


Sir, – It seems that in relation to the mica redress scheme there is an absence of any political voice on behalf of taxpayers and those less fortunate in society. Many of your letter writers have pointed to glaring inequities in the scheme that appears to include rental and holiday homes when the number of people homeless in Ireland continues to be a major social problem.

Can the use of public taxation in such a generous manner be justified when we are in the midst of a deep housing crisis?

The likely answer as to why no TDs are opposed is that there are few or no votes in standing up for the taxpayer (and for equity) but a strong certainty of losing votes for voicing criticism.

It is particularly startling that no left-wing party or TDs feel that there is an issue of fairness and justice for those with no property and the homeless.

Surely the role of opposition parties in a democracy is to hold government policies up to scrutiny and accountability. Like the corona virus, populism has become a pandemic in politics.

– Yours, etc,



Co Limerick.

Sir, – As a geologist I am somewhat bemused by the “mica contaminated blocks scandal”. How can mica cause a problem in concrete blocks?

Mica is a common mineral in many granites such as those found in Donegal. No normal sand or gravel deposit will contain a sufficient quantity of the mineral to cause a problem to a concrete mix.

Sand and gravel deposits formed by deposition from flowing water, and any mica flakes in the sediment will have been winnowed out.

Anyone living in the Dublin area will be familiar with the shiny plates of white mica – “muscovite”– that are prominent in the Leinster granite of which most walls are built, yet these walls do not fall down.

So where was the sand from which the blocks were made sourced from? Where are the quarries?

Who made the blocks, and what proportion of cement was used in their manufacture? Were they sourced from one plant or from several different manufacturers? Was one building contractor involved, or were there several?

Nobody seems to have thought of undertaking a geotechnical investigation to answer these questions.

– Yours, etc,



Co Cork.