Parents left in limbo as two Fingal schools are still closed

by Sylvia Pownall

[vc_row][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text]Two Fingal schools remained closed after the mid-term break this week amid calls for a review of the Department of Education’s design and build programme.

Parents met at Tyrrelstown Educate Together NS on Wednesday to inspect the building ahead of its reopening after safety concerns were raised over the structure.

Earlier this week, the Department of Education announced that the building and nearby St Luke’s NS, both in Tyrrelstown, would remain shut until at least Friday.

Laura Walsh, whose two children attend Tyrrelstown ETNS, said parents were left in limbo, adding: “We haven’t been told exactly what’s wrong with the school and how long it’s going to take to fix that.”

Ms Walsh, who has a seven-year-old daughter in first class and a three-year-old son in pre-school, said: “It’s a big concern for parents, especially those who are working and trying to organise childcare before and after school.”

Tyrellstown ETNS and St Luke’s NS had planned to reopen their ground floors on Tuesday; however, St Luke’s principal, Vivienne Bourke, announced on Monday that remedial works were not sufficient.

She said scaffolding support structures “do not look good” and reported that “there were still some sharp edges, unfinished woodwork and exposed surfaces”.

Tyrellstown ETNS will reopen at ground floor level only and a number of pupils will be temporarily accommodated at Hansfield ETSS.

Principal Tim Stapleton said Gardai and council staff would attend to give “an outline of our traffic management plan to cope with the transport of our first- to sixth-classes”.

Cllr Tania Doyle (Ind) said that “given the widescale level of this debacle a fully independent panel of enquiry is warranted”.

On Tuesday, Education Minister Joe McHugh told an Oireachtas committee that his department would pursue every legal channel against Western Building Systems – the company that build 23 schools where structural weaknesses have been found.

At Ardgillan Community College in Balbriggan, the first to close, he said the problems included inside timber leafs not adjoined to the steel structure, and timber panels attached to concrete with wooden nails instead of bolts.

Speaking at the committee, Solidarity-PBP TD Ruth Coppinger alleged that red flags were raised about school buildings years ago by construction workers who were “literally turfed out the door”.

In a statement, Western Building Systems said it welcomed the inquiry into the construction of schools and a wider review of the Department’s programme.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Related Articles