Monday 16 September 2019

Over half of 42 schools undergoing safety checks require precautionary measures or remediation works

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar TD visiting the schools . Photo: Mark Condren
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar TD visiting the schools . Photo: Mark Condren
Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

More than half of the 42 schools undergoing structural safety checks need some form of precautionary measures and/or remediation works.

However, 19 of the schools have been cleared to open in full next Monday, without any internal or external interventions.

These are: Luttrellstown Community College; Gaelscoil Shliabh Rua, Dublin 18; Broombridge Educate Together NS; Scoil Choilm Community NS, Porterstown; Gaelscoil na Giúise, Firhouse; Gaelscoil Thulach na nÓg, Dunboyne; Maryborough NS, Portlaoise; Scoil Aoife Community NS, Citywest; Letterkenny Educate Together NS: Firhouse Educate Together NS; St. Joseph’s Primary School, Gorey; Lucan Community NS, Balgaddy Rd; Gaelscoil na gCloch Liath; Rush and Lusk Educate Together NS; St. Francis of Assisi Primary School, Belmayne; Belmayne Educate Together NS; Galway Educate Together NS; Gaelscoil Mhic Aodha; Mullingar Educate Together NS

In another 19 cases, the schools can open in full, following external precautionary measures in the form of fencing and protective decking.

These are: Scoil Chaitlín Maude, Tallaght; Castlemills Education Centre, Balbriggan; St Paul’s NS, Ratoath; Scoil Phádraig Naofa, Athy; Athy Model School (GP hall extension only);Gaelscoil Átha Í (GP hall extension only); Lucan East Educate Together NS; Convent National School, Portarlington;Scoil Phádraig Naofa, Rochestown;Gaelscoil Phortlaoise; Portlaoise Educate Together NS; Coláiste De Lacy, Ashbourne; Gaelscoil na Mí, Ashbourne; Ashbourne Educate Together NS; Griffeen Valley Educate Together NS(2003 phase only);Gaelscoil Mhichíl Uí Choileáin, Clonakilty; Cara Junior (Special) School - one part of building only; Carrigaline Educate Together NS; St. Colman’s Boys NS, Macroom

Three schools will be opening at ground floor level only, initially: Tyrrelstown Educate Together, St Luke’s NS, Tyrrelstown, and Gaelscoil Eiscir Riana, Lucan, all Co Dublin

At  Ardgillan Community College, Balbriggan Co Dublin, Phase 1 of the building will remain closed.

The final picture emerged after   the Department of Education received the outcomes of the structural assessments conducted on all schools constructed by Western Building Systems.

Education Minister Joe McHugh said that in cases where precautionary external or internal interventions are being implemented, it is with the purpose of ensuring the safe occupation of all or part of the building, and ensuring that disruption to classes is minimised.

He said that, by tomorrow, contractors will be implementing precautionary measures at all schools where this is required.

The minister said the target was to have this work completed in time to facilitate schools reopening after the mid-term break, and school principals concerned are kept fully informed of progress on a daily basis.

More detailed investigations and any necessary permanent remediation work will be dealt with in a follow-up phase, he said 

In a statement, WBS said that no details of the assessments had been shared with the company and they did not know the methodology of the assessments or the basis of any conclusions reached.

The company insisted that of the 42 schools assessed, each was “previously certified for completion as being free from defects and suitable for use by the Department and its employed professionals – the same people who have now arrived at a different view.”

WBS said it was invited to view only 14 schools during the assessment period and had insufficient time on site to make structural evaluations.

The company noted that some of the schools identified as now requiring remedial works were still in their defects liability contract period, which provided for the contractor to remedy notified defects which the Department identified under the contract.

The statement added that some of the schools identified as now requiring remedial works were previously inspected and approved as compliant in line with the new building regulation control process,  including schools where the Department appointed its own assigned certifiers, and a clerk of works who had a full-time presence on site.

WBS has written to the Department requesting “proper access and time to evaluate the identified schools”, including   Ardgillan Community College, Tyrrelstown Educate Together National School and St Luke’s National School, Mulhuddart.

The company said it had also written to the Department and the Dun Laoghaire Education and Training Board regarding three schools that they were currently constructing  - Greystones CNS, Shellybanks Educate Together NS, Roslyn Park, Sandymount and Colásite Cois Life.

“Two of these schools are ‘design by employer’ contracts and one is a ‘design and build’ contract. It is our full intention to complete these projects, “the statement added.

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