School buildings and public safety


Sir, – It is revealing that the Department of Education’s staff saw their role during site visits as merely “client liaison” (“Department signed off on schools, say builders”, News, October 26th).

My grandfather, Francis Charles Martin (1899-1949), was the Office of Public Works (OPW) architect and structural engineer deeply involved with the design and construction of the single-storey national schools built in Ireland from the 1930s onwards.

In 1935 and 1936 alone, the OPW built some 42 new schools and enlarged 34 existing ones.

Many are still in use.

The difference between then and now is that every school building project had a full-time clerk of works who supervised the day-to-day site activity.

The OPW architect responsible made regular site visits for inspection, not “client liaison”, purposes.

Some two decades ago the Department of Education appears to have taken over most of the historic role of the OPW in school building.

The results speak for themselves. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 13.

Sir, – I sincerely hope that the “rapid-build” techniques which have led to such glaring problems in recently built schools are not the same “rapid-build” techniques which we have been told will help solve our housing crisis. – Yours, etc,