Parents call for long-term solution to schools fiasco in Fingal

by Sylvia Pownall

[vc_row][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text]Three Fingal schools shut due to structural concerns will partially re-open after the mid-term break but will only be able to accommodate one third of their enrolment.

Late on Tuesday the Department of Education confirmed that work had begun to try and resolve structural problems at Ardgillan Community College in Balbriggan, Tyrrelstown Educate Together NS and St Luke’s NS.

Solutions being explored include placing protective fencing and other structures around entrances. For those with problems affecting internal walls, engineers are looking at bolstering those walls from the inside.

It is expected that around one third of pupils will be accommodated on the ground floor of both Tyrrelstown primary schools. Work is continuing locally to find accommodation in nearby schools for the remainder.

A public meeting will be held in Tyrrelstown this Thursday to discuss the ongoing situation amid concerns for hundreds of students, including those with autism who attend the ASD unit.

Cllr Tania Doyle (Ind) told Dublin Gazette: “I have received a high number of calls from parents worried about their children’s long-term education. This is not a time for recrimination, it is a time for decisions to be made which are focused on our community and our children.”

Fingal County Council confirmed last week that Tyrrelstown Community Centre was also to close as the board of management awaited clarity on structural issues.

Pre-school and after-school facilities are also affected.

Labour TD Joan Burton called on Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to set up an action group in the wake of the closures which left “a palpable sense of shock and dismay”.

In a statement posted on Facebook Solidarity Cllr Matt Waine said “disgraceful corner cutting” had left thousands of D15 families facing the prospect of lengthy commutes to and from school and “months and months of uncertainty”.

Cllr Paul Donnelly (SF) said he’d contacted the Taoiseach asking that parents be given written guarantees that their children would be 100 per cent safe in the partially reopened buildings.

He added: “Many parents I’ve spoken to have grave concerns that schools that were last week reported as having collapsing walls can reopen so quickly.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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