Exam students’ project work destroyed in Louth school fire

Classrooms out of use as gardaí and insurance workers carry out inspections

A Garda forensic team examined fire damage at St Louis secondary school in Co Louth on Monday following a blaze at the weekend

A Garda forensic team examined fire damage at St Louis secondary school in Co Louth on Monday following a blaze at the weekend

 

Dundalk Institute of Technology is to provide classrooms for hundreds of students whose secondary school was damaged by fire at the weekend, just weeks before the State exams.

Junior and Leaving Cert students at St Louis Secondary School ’s are also due to sit their exams at the third-level college.

Michelle Dolan, the school’s acting principal, said technology project work by Junior Cert students was in a part of the school that was burned down.

However, she said the school had “digital evidence” and had been in touch with the State Examinations Commission.

She paid tribute to the institute of technology for its “kind offer” and also thanked De La Salle school in Dundalk for accommodating almost a dozen Leaving Cert Applied students who had their Spanish oral and English exams on Monday.

Ms Dolan said a Garda forensic team was continuing to investigate the source of the blaze.

A study hall and classroom, which were in a wooden building at the rear of the complex, were destroyed.

A number of other classrooms are also unusable due to broken glass, smoke damage and a lack of electricity and water supply.

Ms Dolan said planning was under way to repair the school and replace lost rooms.

Transport

She said the transport section of the Department of Education and Bus Éireann had been working to ensure any students who require transport will be able to reach the new temporary school location.

“The entire school will relocate for the next three weeks and for the duration of the State exams, if required,” she said.

“Providing excellent teaching and learning to our students is our priority as well as providing a safe and calm learning environment for all, including exam candidates while they continue to prepare for state exams.”

She added: “We have also had reassurance from the State Examinations Commission that they have a procedure in place to deal fairly with the exam candidates who have lost project work in the recent fire and will work closely with the school this week.”

Alerted

Fire services are understood to have been alerted to the fire at the all-girls secondary school in the early hours of Saturday by a participant in the Darkness Into Light walk on Saturday morning.

Firefighters prevented it from spreading to the adjoining main school building and were on site from 3am until noon on Saturday.

Robert Page, senior assistant chief fire officer for Co Louth, said the fire was beginning to spread to the main school building when the fire crews arrived.

“Station officer Paul Kelly ensured it did not spread to the main school building and was [instead] contained,” he added.