Schools found with structural defects to open as normal

By Aideen O'Flaherty

A NUMBER of local primary schools, whose buildings were built by Western Building Systems and were found to have structural defects, will be opening as normal for the start of the academic year.

As previously reported in The Echo, a number of local schools had to undergo detailed structural investigations, following on from initial assessments from the structural defects controversy that came to light late last year.

scoil chaitlin maude compressor

Scoil Chaitlin Maude

The affected schools include Gaelscoil Eiscir Riada in Lucan, which will be open in time for the pupils to return on Wednesday, September 4, however the school will not be getting their building back until Saturday, August 31.

The other school is Lucan East Educate Together National School, which reopened as normal on Wednesday, but structural works are due to commence in the coming months.

Other local schools earmarked for structural works in the coming months include Griffeen Valley Educate Together National School, who have had to defer the opening of the school to Monday, September 2, and Scoil Chaitlín Maude in Tallaght, where pupils started back on Wednesday.

Detailed investigations have been completed, and temporary remediation and precautionary measures are being undertaken in Gaelscoil na Giúise in Firhouse, which reopened on Wednesday, and Scoil Aoife Community National School in Citywest, where classes also started on Wednesday.

Firhouse Educate Together National School, where the pupils are due back in school on Monday, September 2, and Lucan Community National School on Balgaddy Road, are also earmarked for temporary remediation and precautionary measures.

According to the Department of Education and Skills, their aim is to undertake permanent remediation work in these schools primarily over the summer holiday periods in 2020 and 2021.

They added that some precautionary actions are now being taken in these buildings as an interim measure.

Gaelscoil Eiscir Riada 17 compressor

Gaelscoil Eiscir Riada in Lucan

Two local TDs have also voiced their concerns about Western Building Systems being awarded a €14 million contract by the HSE to build a new wing at University Hospital Limerick, despite being sued by the Department of Education and Skills for structural defects in some of the schools they built.

People Before Profit TD for Dublin Mid-West, Gino Kenny, said: “Gaeilscoil Eiscar Riada and Lucan East Educate Together National School are two schools in my constituency that were built by Western Building Systems and found to have structural flaws last year.

“The flaws in Eiscar Riada were identified as needing external and internal intervention.

“I am calling on the HSE to retract their awarding of this €14m contract to Western Building Systems.

“It is simply unacceptable that they would even consider letting them build any more publicly used buildings.”

Seán Crowe, a Sinn Féin TD for Dublin South West, said: “While we don’t yet know to what extent Western Building Systems was responsible or not for the building defects found in the 42 schools they built for the state over the past number of years, the decision to award a new contract in the midst of all this controversy is absolutely bonkers.

“Like most people, I would have assumed that, until the full facts are established, current tenders from this company would be kept under review, and any new tender bids not accepted.

“Public safety is paramount and value for public money is incredibly important, but I am calling on the Minister for Health, Simon Harris, to address this issue as a matter of priority.

“There is now an onus on the government to tell us what is going on with these state building contracts.

“It is absolute madness that one government Department is suing a building company and at the same time a different Department is awarding the same company another substantial contract.”

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