Thursday 15 November 2018

Pupils to return to west Dublin primary schools closed over concerns around structural safety

Scaffolding erected at Tyrrelstown Educate Together school. Photo: Mark Condren
Scaffolding erected at Tyrrelstown Educate Together school. Photo: Mark Condren

Conor McCrave and Katherine Donnelly

Pupils will return tomorrow to two west Dublin primary schools that have been closed over concerns around structural safety.

In the case of Tyrrelstown Educate Together, all pupils will be back in class, but some will be bussed to nearby Hansfield Educate Together, which is offering alternative accommodation.

First to sixth class pupils will move to Hansfield on a temporary basis, while junior pupils and children who need its special needs ASD unit will return to the Tyrrelstown building.

The neighbouring St Luke’s National School has confirmed that third to sixth classes will return tomorrow and will be accommodated in the nearby Le Chéile secondary school.

But St Luke’s is still awaiting the outcome of a further safety check on its own building to decide when a limited number of classes – from junior infants to second class - can return there.

Both schools need precautionary internal and external measures, which, even when they do open, will limit them to use their ground floor only, pending further investigations.

While precautionary measures were installed over the weekend, school management and parents had concerns and further work has since been carried out.

Today, parents from both schools met with representatives from the Department of Education, Punch Engineering, which installed the protective measures, the Gardai and an independent health and safety consultant to view the works and ask questions.

In a notice posted on the St Luke’s website, principal Vivienne Bourke said "parents raised a number of concerns and asked many questions about the safety of the school building from perspectives such as: structural safety, fire safety and the additional needs of children with special educational needs etc."

She said the school patron and the board of management were satisfied that the ground floor was structurally sound, but taking into account the safety concerns raised by the parents, a second check was being conducted.

Ms Bourke said the patron and board of management would not be in a position to open the school on the ground floor, or the hall, until that safety check has been completed and the works recommended therein have been implemented fully.

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