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Minister for Education issues new court action against Western Building Systems

40 schools built by the firm have required remedial work to fix structural issues.

Image: Shutterstock/Tobias Arhelger

THE MINISTER FOR Education is suing construction company Western Building Systems in two new cases after the firm built school buildings which had to close over structural concerns raised two years ago.

Minister Joe McHugh has taken a number of High Court actions against the firm since 2018 when it was revealed that 42 schools built by WBS were being examined for structural safety issues. 

Several schools were closed for remedial works. Some works are still ongoing after being put on pause due to Covid-19 restrictions. 

The minister issued two separate High Court cases on 21 May and 27 May this year against Western Building Systems along with a number of other defendants including engineering and consulting firms. 

A Department of Education spokesperson said the department “continues to liaise with the Chief State Solicitor’s Office and the Attorney General’s Office” as part of this ongoing legal process.  

Western Building Systems has been contacted by TheJournal.ie for comment. 

The firm previously stated that it will “vigorously contest” any litigation from the State.

€40 million has been paid up to November last year on remediation works at 40 schools constructed by WBS. 

Education Minister Joe McHugh said last year that much of this work took place during the summer months in 2019 to fix structural and fire safety deficiencies.

McHugh said at the time that the bulk of the remainder of the Schools Remediation Programme is scheduled to be undertaken on a phased basis over 2020 and 2021.

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A spokesperson for the Department of Education said it is too soon to estimate a new timeline for when works will be complete as it will “take time to remobilise and see [the] impact of new working arrangements”.

“The department continues to liaise with school patrons and school principals in relation to progress and any impacts of Covid-19 on project delivery timescales,” the spokesperson said. 

They added that construction on a number of school sites recommenced on 18 May in line with Phase One of the government’s roadmap to ease Covid-19 restrictions. 

Comments are closed due to ongoing legal proceedings 

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