Calls for a national audit to ensure school fire safety

Teachers have called for a national audit of all schools to ensure they are fire safe and meet all health and safety standards.

Delegates confer at the TUI conference in the INEC, Killarney. Picture: Don MacMonagle

A motion was passed at the final day of the Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) conference in Killarney, Co Kerry, calling for the audit and comes after revelations in the Irish Examiner last October that more than 200 primary students in Dublin were attending a school for six years before it was discovered it was a serious fire hazard.

The north Dublin school was signed off in 2008, but a routine inspection in 2014 found it had so many fire safety concerns it could have collapsed during a blaze in 20 minutes.

Once the defects were discovered, the Dublin Fire Brigade ordered the Department of Education to make immediate repairs costing more than €800,000 to make the building safe.

Referring to the case, Mike Lyons from Cork said the audit of all schools was required so that teachers, parents and students were safe in any building they were being educated in.

“What has ended up happening is that we have schools that are not properly fire stopped.

“We have had Longboat Quay and other issues also. I would ask the congress to support this motion from the standpoint of the quality of buildings that we are sending children and adults into. They deserve a quality environment for their education,” he said.

The topic of workplace bullying also was raised by a number of delegates with a motion passed calling for guidelines and training in dealing with allegations of bullying and harassment.

Senator and former TUI president Gerry Craughwell said the bullying teachers had to face came from above and below and came from colleagues, management and pupils.

“I walked into a classroom one day and I saw three teachers at a blackboard and the three of them in tears while a student tore them to pieces.

“And the students sit in the classroom and watch it. If we are going to tackle bullying in the workplace, we must start talking about it.”

“If you feel you are getting bullied, you must start talking to colleagues, and colleagues, we cannot sit on our hands and allow this to happen and then say: ‘Isn’t it a shame when one of our colleagues committed suicide’.

“Because that’s where bullying leads to. It is the loneliest place you will ever be. They take you apart in here [the mind]. That’s where they take you apart,” he said.


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