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Parents express 'horror' at prefab conditions at North Dublin secondary school

Photographs from inside prefabs at Gaelscholáiste Reachrann in Donaghmede show damaged walls and ceilings.

Image from iOS Source: Reproduced with permission of parent

PARENTS AT A school in North Dublin have expressed “horror” at the conditions inside a number of classrooms after photos emerged on social media yesterday. 

Photographs from inside prefabs at Gaelscholáiste Reachrann in Donaghmede show damaged walls and ceilings as well as clogged toilets, with parents at the school saying children have seen cats chasing rats in their classrooms. 

The school has been planning to construct a new building to replace the prefabs which are over ten years old and are located at the back of the Grange Community College. But despite parents calling for the new build project to be prioritised children are still being forced to attend class inside the prefab buildings. 

One parent of two children who attend the Irish-speaking secondary school told The Journal that parents have offered to help repair the prefabs but said it is “shocking” they should have to offer. 

“They’re only ever [taught] in the prefabs and they have to eat outside, they sit outside with their sandwiches,” she said, adding that parents have been aware of the conditions inside the prefabs for some time and have called for more funding.

“There’s no money being given,” she said. “We all knew it’s not ideal but we were waiting to turn the sod [on the new building] but it was when the pictures sent to a group WhatsApp that we realised how bad it was.”

“My daughter has come home complaining saying it’s absolutely freezing but when I saw those pictures I couldn’t believe it,” she said. 

The parents said that a number of the prefabs at the school are in better condition than those depicted in the photos but two or three are in particularly bad condition. 

Image from iOS (1) Source: Reproduced with permission of parent

Local Sinn Féin TD Denise Mitchell has two children attending the school and says she wasn’t aware of the condition of the prefabs until recently either. 

Mitchell said the last time she was in the school was 2017 and that she was “horrified” when she saw the photographs depicting the condition of the classroom. 

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Mitchell told Newstalk she has spoken to the principal who said the school is waiting on the tender process to be completed for the new build. 

“But in the meantime we have to make sure that this building is up to health and safety standards for our children and also for the teachers,” she said. 

Mitchell said she has contacted Education Minister Norma Foley expressing concern at the delay in building the new school and asked for the Department to prioritise its construction. 

The Department of Education in a statement said: “The building project for Gaelcholáiste Reachrann, is at an advanced stage of architectural planning, Stage 2(b) – Detailed Design.

“In October 2020, in order to expedite the progression of this major building project the Department authorised DDLETB and its design team to commence a pre-qualification process to select a shortlist of contractors in parallel with the Department’s review of the stage 2(b) submission for this project.

“The pre-qualification process is currently on-going. Upon receipt of design team confirmations and completion of the pre-qualification process and subject to no issues arising, the Department will be in contact with DDLETB and its design team with regard to the further progression of this project to the next stage of architectural planning, Stage 3 (Tender Stage).”

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