Parents plan pickets amid fury at school safety issues

Safety row: Building work at Tyrellstown Educate Together National School in Dublin

Conor McCrave and Katherine Donnelly

One of two Dublin schools closed amid concerns over structural defects is bringing all pupils back today, but there is only a limited return at the other.

Tyrrelstown Educate Together is re-opening its ground floor for some classes, while others are being bussed to alternative accommodation at Hansfield Educate Together.

However, neighbouring St Luke's National School is not opening because of concerns among parents, some of whom are planning a protest today seeking safety assurances.

It means no return today for junior pupils at St Luke's, but third to sixth classes have been invited back to be walked to nearby Le Cheile secondary school where rooms are being made available.

There was a heated meeting between parents and building engineers at the schools' site yesterday which turned "hostile" after parents were not satisfied the schools were safe for pupils to return.

The two schools were found to have both internal and external structural issues after assessments were conducted on 42 schools built by Western Building Systems.

Terence Wallace, whose son Logan (6) is in the senior infants class at the Educate Together school, said safety concerns led to people shouting over each other at the meeting yesterday morning.

"It was all very angry and very heated and it was mainly parents from St Luke's because they weren't getting answers," he said. "There were fire exits being blocked and then they were being unblocked so people were asking why that had happened.

"People were shouting over each other and asking questions and not getting answers, and people being asked questions were not getting the chance to answer. They were just being shot down."

A number of parents who attended the meeting with their children said they left feeling "intimidated" and "scared" due to the visible building works and the temporary supports around walls.

Junior and senior infants as well as the special needs units return to the school today as the ground floor is deemed structurally safe, after additional braces and supports were installed. First to sixth class pupils will move to Hansfield on a temporary basis.