Four more fire risk schools inspected

The Department of Education has completed emergency inspections on four of five schools “similarly” built by the firm behind another unit found to be a fire trap, but will not release any findings until full reports are compiled.

A spokesperson for Education Minister Jan O’Sullivan confirmed last night the schools have undergone emergency inspections in light of revelations a “similarly” built facility had such fire safety flaws it would burn down in 20 minutes.

Responding to an Irish Examiner query on the “immediate” inspections launched after the 16-month-old concerns were revealed by this paper earlier this month, the department said Ardgillan Community College in Balbriggan, Dublin; Scoil Naomh Lucais in Tyrrellstown, Dublin; Belmayne Educate Together in Dublin; and Greystones Educate Together in Co Wicklow have all undergone checks.

A fifth facility, Mullingar Educate Together in Westmeath, is also due to be examined once “construction” work concludes.

However, the department said “no outcomes” will be made public “until the reports are finalised”, and did not clarify if any have been given the fire safety all clear.

The Rush and Lusk Educate Together national school was built in 2008 under the department’s rapid schools build programme by Tyrone-based Western Building Systems, which built the five other facilities at the same time and has developed 25 schools since 2008.

While then education minister Ruairi Quinn said in May 2013 the school needed only “relatively minor” repairs, a year later it was found to lack cavity barriers in walls to prevent a fire spreading; special fire retardant coating to protect steel girders during intense heat; and other matters.

Some €800,000 was spent on emergency repairs. However, numerous architects and builders question if the issues are repeated nationwide due to lax boom-era building standards.


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