Tuesday 23 January 2018

Plan in place for school at centre of fire safety scandal

Gaelscoil na gCloch Liath lobbied for two years to see damning report

Gaelscoil na gCloch Liath Greystones
Gaelscoil na gCloch Liath Greystones

Deborah Coleman

A Greystones primary school at the centre of a nationwide fire safety scandal spent two years trying to get sight of the report which was finally made public by the Department of Education last Friday.

Principal at Gaelscoil na gCloch Liath Rita Ní Thuathail said that the contents of the report came as a shock.

'The school had lobbied the Department to get access to this report for two years. We had made numerous calls and send numerous emails to no avail. We do not know why it was not provided to us, but on Friday we received it just before it was published to the Department's website,' Ms Ní Thuathail said.

The report outlined that the Greystones school was one of five national schools in the country which failed to comply with fire safety standards.

The central issue regarding Gaelscoil na gCloch Liath was the lack of illuminated emergency lighting, which Ms Ní Thuathail said would only become an issue after dark.

An upgrade of the floor structure to meet a 60-minute fire resistance standard is also required.

'We have had a meeting with an official from the Department and a representative from Michael Slattery Consultants and the contractor who will carry out the works. They have taken a look at the building and we have been given a schedule of works. They contractor is currently finishing another job and estimates that he will start work with us in eight to 12 weeks time.'

Ms Ní Thuathail outlined that the works are expected to take up to 12 weeks and that the contractor has agreed to work throughout the Christmas school holidays to get as much done as possible.

'We have released a statement to the parents and we have been in touch with the families since the meeting so everybody is up to date and are happy with the information,' she added.

Local Social Democrats Councillor Jennifer Whitmore questioned why it took so long for the safety report to be completed.

'Whilst I welcome the identification of the safety issues, I would have to ask how it has taken so long for the safety report to be completed and acted on. This issue was raised with the then Minister for Education Jan O' Sullivan in 2015, while the actual fire safety audits were undertaken in early-mid 2016. However, the report has only just been published this week. Most importantly, the works have not yet been completed.

'I find it difficult to understand how such a lengthy delay could happen, particularly when we are talking about a school and the safety of children,' she said.

Wicklow People

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