Credit: Paddy Driver Mica Redress via Twitter

WATCH: Why is Paddy Diver breaking a block with his bare fist?

It’s a stunt often pulled by karate experts, or a skill displayed by shaolin monks after years of practise and experience. But for Paddy Diver, the activist from Donegal, breaking a large building block with a punch from his bare fist is the easiest thing in the world.

This video he posted to social media is highlighting the astonishing – and hugely dangerous – weakness of the building blocks overloaded with mica used to build homes in Donegal and Mayo. It’s a scandal that has left thousands of people in despair and family homes abolished.

“Folks, I’m no Chuck Norris, but I’m pretty sure I could demolish one of these houses with my bare hands,” Diver says. “Take a look at the state of these blocks.”

 

The video pulls a powerful punch (no pun intended). Reading about houses falling apart or crumbling around families is one thing. Seeing how easy it is for a man to easily shatter one of these defective blocks by punching it with his bare fist really brings the message home.

Thousands of Irish homeowners affected by the use of the mineral mica in construction blocks are to continue their fight for full redress. A protest has been organised in the capital on October 8th.

Over 4,000 houses are believed to be affected by the issue across counties Donegal and Mayo.

Videos posted to social media showed the walls of houses literally crumbling away, causing shock and disgust among many, while schools and community centres have also been impacted by the use of blocks containing high levels of mica. Mica, a mineral, absorbs water and can cause walls to crack and crumble.

Thousands of people are set to attend the October protest, which is being organised by the 100% Redress NO LESS group, the Mica Action group and others.

 

The upcoming protest comes as Tánaiste Leo Varadkar recently seemed to pour cold water on families’ hopes for a 100% redress – that the State would cover all of the cost of rebuilding homes as has happened previously in other parts of the country.

Varadkar all but ruled out full redress for homeowners impacted, claiming that it would open the floodgates for other groups seeking the same level of support. He also said that providing a 100% compensation scheme to those who have had their homes destroyed could seriously impact public finances.

“We do have to bear in mind the impact on the general taxpayer as well,” Mr Varadkar said.

But Varadkar’s remarks sparked outrage among campaigners who said they were “disgusted” with his comments and the Tánaiste was “breaking the hearts ”of impacted homeowners.

Families affected have previously called on the Irish government to revamp a two-year-old support scheme, and various protests and events have been organised in hopes of accelerating their campaign for full redress.

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