Seventeen additional schools found to have structural flaws

Temporary remediation and precautionary measures to be put in place

One school building, part of Ardgillan Community College in Balbriggan, Dublin, was closed. Photograph: Garrett White/Collins

One school building, part of Ardgillan Community College in Balbriggan, Dublin, was closed. Photograph: Garrett White/Collins

 

Temporary safety measures are required in 17 schools after structural defects were identified.

The 17 schools are in addition to the 22 structures that were identified last year as having defaults.

Engineers have advised that some permanent remediation work is required in each of these schools but temporary solutions will be put in place in parts of the buildings in the interim.

The Department of Education said “detailed investigations” will be carried out on these schools in the coming weeks.

These investigations are a follow up to the initial assessments, which were based on sample opening up works, and carried out in October and November 2018.

The schools were cleared for use after the initial assessment found no need for any precautionary measures such as scaffolding or protective fencing.

The department said a process was in place to initially look at schools that were in “most structural need” and then more intense investigations were undertaken.

The newly-identified issues are “very similar” to those identified in the other schools and relate to matters such as wall ties and fire precautions.

Holiday periods

The department said “the aim” is to undertake permanent remediation work in these schools over the summer holiday periods in 2020 and 2021.

Two of the 17 schools newly-identified with structural defects were built last year, while several others were completed in 2017 and 2016. More than half of the structures are Dublin schools.

All of the schools were built by Tyrone-based company Western Building Systems.

The affected schools are:

Luttrellstown Community College;

Gaelscoil Shliabh Rua in Dublin 18;

Broombridge Educate Together;

Scoil Choilm Community National School in Porterstown;

Gaelscoil na Giúise in Firhouse;

Gaelscoil Thulach na nÓG in Dunboyne,

Maryborough National School in Portlaoise;

Scoil Aoife Community National School in Citywest;

Letterkenny Educate Together;

Firhouse Educate Together;

St Joseph’s Primary School in Gorey;

Lucan Community National School;

Gaelscoil na gCloch Liath in Greystones;

Rush and Lusk Educate Together;

Galway Educate Together in Newcastle;

Gaelscoil Mhic Aodha in Kildare Town

Mullingar Educate Together.

Last year, 22 schools were identified as having structural issues and permanent engineering solutions were designed for each school.

Structural remediation work has been carried out in 14 of these 22 schools over the last six to seven weeks, allowing the precautionary measures that were in place to be removed as the work is completed.

Structural remediation work in the remaining eight of these 22 schools is due to commence later this year.

Closed down

Part of Ardgillan Community College was closed down as a result of the safety concerns and remains closed. A decision on the design solution for the building is due to be finalised in September.

The department has confirmed that a “number of schools” have requested to open two or three days later than originally planned as a result of the works that were carried out.

A spokesman for the department said that the principal and the board of management of each school will make their own decision as to whether they will re-open as scheduled.

It is expected that the 17 schools that were recently identified as having issues will open on time, a spokesman added.

Speaking in Tullamore on Thursday, Minister for Education Joe McHugh said the temporary solutions in the 17 schools will not be as obstructive as those required at three schools in west Dublin last year

Those schools were forced to temporarily close and children had to attend alternative buildings for several weeks while emergency works were carried out.

The department has said it continues to liaise with the Chief State Solicitor’s Office and the Attorney General’s office over an ongoing legal process concerning the defects. The department has started High Court legal proceedings against Western Building Systems.

Minister McHugh said that “good progress” was being made on the remediation works.

“I want to thank the principals, patrons, boards of management, teachers, parents and pupils in these schools. It is with their support and cooperation while the work is carried out that we can restore their schools to normality,” Mr McHugh said.

“I am deeply conscious of the disruption and difficulties that this issue has caused since last autumn. It is a complex problem that has required intensive analysis and tailored solutions following detailed assessment by engineers.”