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Tyrrelstown Educate Together School in Dublin Sam Boal via

Work begins to reopen ground floors of schools shut over over structural defects

A total of 42 schools are being inspected over concerns about potential structural problems.

THE DEPARTMENT OF Education has confirmed that onsite work has commenced on engineering solutions that will enable the reopening of the ground floors of a number of schools which have been closed due to safety concerns. 

total of 42 schools built by Western Building Systems are being inspected over concerns about potential structural problems. 

School buildings at Tyrrelstown Educate Together National School, St Luke’s National School and Gaelscoil Eiscir Riada in Lucan have all been closed as a result of safety concerns.

The Department has today confirmed that the work has commenced on these three schools which will enable the reopening of the ground floors after the midterm break. 

It added that it is working in cooperation with the principals of the three schools, which will require some interim accommodation after the midterm break. 

“At this point, it is envisaged that all displaced classes at these schools can be accommodated in other school premises. School transport arrangements will be put in place from the existing school buildings in order to minimise disruption to students and their families,” the Department said. 

Once interim accommodation arrangements are finalised, they will be communicated to all parents via the school authorities. 

Work is also commencing at Scoil Chaitlín in Tallaght and Castlemills Education Centre in Balbriggan, buildings which require external interventions prior to reopening in full. 

The Department said that arrangements are in place with a contractor in the event of interventions being needed in other schools following the completion of structural assessments. 

The initial assessments on the 42 schools are on course of be completed by this evening, with detailed analysis by engineers and Department officials, and any necessary follow up examinations, to continue over the course of today and tomorrow. 

Speaking today, Minister for Education Joe McHugh said that he is “pleased with the progress of initial assessments”.

“I appreciate that parents, pupils and staff are keen to hear results from inspections at schools and the Department is confident that once further analysis is carried out by engineers and consultants we will be in a position to confirm decisions in the next day or two,” he said.

In a statement this evening, Western Building Systems said: “We welcome the ongoing progress in the Department’s assessment of the 42 schools identified. We continue to contribute to this process at the schools we have been invited to attend by the Department. We remain available to meet with the Minister for Education and Skills. 

“We note the Department’s indication that the full programme of assessments will be completed within ‘the next day or two’. We look forward to its publication and will make a full statement at that point.

“It is crucial for everyone that we better understand why schools previously certified as substantially complete and suitable for occupation and which also had defects certificates subsequently issued by the Department’s advisors are now being assessed by the Department.”

The Department of Education said it intends to issue its next update tomorrow evening. 

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