Wednesday 16 October 2019

Three west Dublin primary schools to re-open fully following structural safety concerns

Ardgillan Community College. Photo: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
Ardgillan Community College. Photo: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

Three primary schools in west Dublin, where upper floors were closed in early November because of structural safety concerns, have been cleared to re-open fully.

All pupils are back at two of the schools, St Luke’s NS, Tyrrelstown and Gaelscoil Eiscir Riada, Lucan, while Tyrrelstown  Educate Together NS will re-open fully after Christmas.

Temporary remediation works have been completed at the schools, although work will continue at these, and 19 other schools, to address all  issues that came to light in recent structural assessments.

They are among 42 schools assessed in October and November following the discovery of significant structural concerns at one -  Ardgillan Community College, Balbriggan, Co Dublin.

All 42 schools were built by the same contractor, Western Building Systems, under what is known as the Design and Build Programme.

After the recent assessments, 19 schools re-opened without any intervention, another 19 opened with some external precautionary measures, the three in west Dublin also needed some internal works, while a building at Ardgillan remains closed.

Because of their restricted opening, the three primary schools in west Dublin had to transfer some pupils elsewhere and the disruption associated with moving furniture back is a factor in the Tyrrelstown Educate Together decision to delay the return for all pupils until after Christmas.

Education Minister Joe McHugh, who visited Tyrrelstown today, said construction teams had been working over evenings and weekends in recent weeks to ensure the necessary works are completed.

He said the next phase of the Department of Education’s work to address structural issues at affected schools was now being planned.

He said the aim was to maximise periods of time when schools were closed, such as during the summer holidays, to progress any structural improvements that need to be carried out.

Mr McHugh also said that the Department was also pressing ahead with the planned independent review of the Design and Build programme.

WBS has consistently maintained that each of the 42 schools was “previously certified for completion as being free from defects and suitable for use by the Department and its employed professionals”. 

The Department of Education has countered this assertion by stating that a certificate of completion is not a certificate of compliance with building control regulations.

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