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Minister for Education suing Western Building Systems after concerns of structural defects at schools

A total of 42 schools built by Western Building Systems were inspected over concerns about potential structural problems earlier this year.

Ardgillan Community College was one of those identified.
Ardgillan Community College was one of those identified.
Image: Eamonn Farrell/Rollingnews.ie

THE MINISTER OF Education is suing Western Building Systems, the firm that built schools which had to close down buildings in four instances over structural concerns earlier in the year.

In three separate High Court filings yesterday on behalf of Minister Joe McHugh, the department is taking the construction firm to court.

The Department of Education now has a number on ongoing cases against Western, having already filed four other cases against them earlier in the year. T of these due back before court in January.

In October, concerns were raised over potential structural defects at Ardgillan Community College in Balbriggan.

Safety concerns were also raised at Tyrrelstown Educate Together National School, St Luke’s National School and Gaelscoil Eiscir Riada in Lucan, which all closed school buildings for a period in October into November.

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

Most of the schools received the green light to reopen in full after the mid-term break while a number had to wait a few days more. 

In November, Minister McHugh told an Oireachtas committee he would strive to ensure that those responsible for the controversy were held accountable.

“What I’m determined to do is to get to the bottom of this and determined to find out who’s culpable, [and] where the responsibility lies,” McHugh said.

“There has to be culpability, and there has to be an effort made to ensure culpability and accountability is brought to bear.”

At the time, Western said it recognised that “this is a very important matter, not least for the pupils, parents and teachers of the schools involved”.

“Until now, our integrity has never been questioned. Each of our Department of Education and Skills’ projects, both before and since the amendments to regulations in 2014, were subjected to inspections during construction,” it said. “Every time, each was certified as meeting compliance standards.

We are interested in getting to the bottom of this and that starts with establishing the facts.

TheJournal.ie has contacted spokespeople from the department and Western for comment. 

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Sean Murray

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