Latest: All students affected by school closures can return to class tomorrow

Latest: All students affected by school closures can return to class tomorrow
Works at the Tyrrelstown Educate Together School. Pic: Collins.

Update - 5.28pm: All students in schools affected by structural issues will be able to return to class tomorrow.

Tyrrelstown Educate Together National School reopened today with junior classes accommodated on site and seniors off-site.

The ground floor of St Luke's National School in Tyrrelstown will reopen from tomorrow after senior students were accommodated in a neighbouring school today.

In a statement this evening, Education Minister Joe McHugh acknowledged the logistical challenges for schools that only reopened on the ground floor.

He says they will move as quickly as possible to the next phase of structural investigations at the 42 schools and any remediation works required.

"I would like to express my sincere thanks to everyone who has worked together to make it possible for all children to return to school by the end of this week. In challenging circumstances, school communities have rallied together with one objective in mind – ensuring a safe environment for children to learn," he said.

"I would particularly like to acknowledge the role of school principals, staff, Boards of Management and patron bodies who worked tirelessly alongside Department officials through the past two or so weeks. We appreciate the operational and logistical challenges that have arisen for many schools and the commitment of all involved to putting solutions in place.

"This has been a particularly disruptive time for parents and guardians – I know many have had to arrange childcare or take time off work this week. I would like to thank them for their understanding and for their collaboration with school staff in ensuring that any new arrangements run smoothly.

"The reopening of schools this week required a very significant mobilisation from the private sector – well beyond the normal call of duty – and I have contacted a number of the companies directly to express appreciation for their collaboration. I would also like to acknowledge the support received by the Department from the National Development Finance Agency.

"We are conscious that there are particular logistical challenges for those schools in which only the ground floor is reopening this week. An immediate priority is to determine how best we can facilitate the safe and timely opening of the upper floors of those buildings. We will also move as quickly as possible to the next phase of structural investigations at the 42 schools and, following on from this, to implement any remediation works required.

"I can assure the school communities involved that no effort will be spared in ensuring these issues are comprehensively and permanently resolved."

Update - 11.32am: A group of parents and children at a Dublin School affected by the structural defects controversy are protesting outside the school gates this morning.

St Luke’s National School in Tyrellstown remains closed, two weeks after structural concerns with the building were raised.

Senior pupils at the school were walked to a nearby secondary school for class, while junior students remain at home.

Parents protesting outside say they will not be sending their children back.

One parent said: "I'm not putting her into a building that's not safe and we haven't been advised that the building is actually safe, so she's actually missing seven days so far and by the looks of it they are still going to miss the rest of the week.

Another parent said: "We all went into the school yesterday and it wasn't suitable for any child to go into. They may as well go in with their hard hat and hi-vis jacket. It's not suitable."

Parents and children protesting outside St Luke's today. Pic: rollingnews.ie
Parents and children protesting outside St Luke's today. Pic: rollingnews.ie

Some parents have started educating their children at home.

Clare Fahy’s two children go to St. Luke’s, and she is going to educate her daughter at home.

Ms Fahy said: "I'm after asking for the school books and I'm going to teach her at home until the school is open. She's sad that she is not going to school, because she loves going to school.

"My other child has gone to Le Cheile, he is after being diagnosed as dyslexic, so I am after getting a report for him.

"What are they going to do? What resources will they have for him until that school opens again?. So that's kind of a downfall."

In a statement, St Luke's Principal Vivienne Bourke said: "The patron and board of management are now satisfied that the ground floor is structurally sound and have been furnished with a report from Punch Engineering which states that the ground floor is structurally sound.

"Taking into account the safety concerns raised by the parents of St Luke's NS this morning, there is a second safety check being conducted by independent consultant of health and safety - Paddy Mac Neill, and the patron and board of management will not be in a position to open the school on the ground floor, or the hall until that safety check has been completed".

However, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th-class children can attend classes at Le Cheile Secondary School.

Earlier: Dublin school remains closed as work continues on structural defects

One of the Dublin schools at the centre of the controversy over structural problems is to remain closed today.

The decision not to re-open St Luke's National School in Tyrellstown was made at the request of parents, after an inspection.

It was one of the schools constructed by Western Building Systems that needs structural repairs.

The nearby Tyrrelstown Educate Together will partially re-open for junior classes, while older pupils at Gaelscoil Eiscir Riada in Lucan will return to their school today.

Around 300 pupils will have classes on the ground floor of their school building at Tyrrelstown Educate Together National School, while senior pupils at Gaelscoil Eiscir Riada will be bussed or walked to a nearby secondary school.

Lisa O’Hagan is a parent who visited St Luke's yesterday, and she said: "There are boxes around the windows, so the kids can't really get access to the windows to get them open.

"The beams in the ceiling, you could basically see everything."


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