Children escape unhurt after ceiling collapses

SCHOOL children had a lucky escape yesterday when part of the ceiling of their pre-fab classroom collapsed.

The ceiling collapsed on 27 pupils and a teacher at St Nessan’s Primary School in Mungret, Co Limerick, at around 2.20pm.

“We were very lucky that nobody was injured. Both the teacher and the children were very shocked. Even though two of the children were hit by the falling plaster, they did not show any sign of any injury afterwards,” said teacher Gerry O’Sullivan, an INTO staff representative.

“We are so lucky as the consequences could have been very serious ,” he added.

The school’s Board of Management were meeting last night to discuss the situation.

“I believe a Board of Works’ official will visit the school and unless a guarantee is given that the pre-fab classroom and four other pre-fab buildings are structurally sound and safe, the children will not be allowed into the classrooms.

“The Department of Education must ensure the safety of the children and staff at their top priority,” said Mr O’Sullivan.

The Principal, Stephen Cahill and 35-teaching staff were promised by the Government before the last election that the necessary funding would be provided for phase two of the 1.5 million school building programme which would see the replacement of the five pre-fab classrooms by permanent buildings.

“We have already got planning permission, but the Government broke their promise by refusing to provide the necessary finance,” Mr O’Sullivan said.

The shocking condition of the pre-fab classrooms have been the source of serious concern for the teachers and parents of the children for sometime and parents have already protested about the condition of the 730-pupil school.

General Secretary of the INTO John Car said the organisation has been highlighting the substandard nature of many schools for over a decade.

“Teachers have consistently pointed out that some primary schools are an accident waiting to happen. The Minister for Education and Science recently called some of these schools disastrous,” Mr Carr said.

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