Students at a secondary school in Swords are being put at risk because of health and safety issues in a dilapidated building which is “no longer fit for purpose”.
Staff and parents have highlighted the conditions at St Finian’s Community College where an extension first promised in 2010 has now been delayed again.
Last week, Senator James Reilly (FG) highlighted the issue in the Seanad and called on Education Minister Joe McHugh to prioritise the project for the sake of the pupils.
He said the school’s board of management had first outlined concerns in 2010 complaining of leaking ceilings, lack of heating and other potential health risks.
An extension was sanctioned and the scheme moved through design and planning without a hitch – but as building was due to start it was shelved without explanation.
Senator Reilly, who visited the school earlier this month, said: “I saw for myself rooms with no natural light, an economics room with cookers in it with only one entrance and exit. That is a fire risk as far as I’m concerned.
“There has been a disgraceful dilapidation of the building in terms of ceilings coming in. There is a roof collapsing with vegetation growing into the room and down into the corner – and students in 2019 are supposed to learn and study in these conditions?
“It’s just not good enough.”
A post on the school’s Facebook page states: “Our school has been in Swords for more than 60 years and we have been there with our community through the good times and the bad.
“Our building is no longer fit for purpose and it is not acceptable that our extension has been delayed once again. Our students deserve better.”
The Department of Education is now drawing up a design for a new, zero-energy building. But Senator Reilly said this involves starting the design and planning process again which means St Finian’s goes to the back of the queue.
He said: “That is not fair. They have suffered. Please don’t ask the staff, students and parents who have supported them to continue to have to exist in these conditions.”