Two Dublin schools remain closed over structural issues

Pupils at two of four Dublin schools worst affected by the structural defects controversy will be staying at home today, as the schools have decided not to reopen.

Older children at a third Dublin primary school are also not returning until Thursday, to allow the school time to finalise temporary accommodation.

Tyrrelstown Educate Together and adjacent St Luke’s National School had hoped to be able to reopen the ground floors of their buildings to pupils.

However, after an on-site meeting with technical teams on Sunday it was decided to postpone the return of pupils. 

On its website, St Luke’s National School said it has concerns that work to make the school safe had not been finished to a high enough standard and there were sharp edges, unfinished woodwork, and exposed surfaces that could be a hazard. 

The school said it would examine the building again on Tuesday with a view to re-opening on Wednesday.

Another Dublin school where sections of buildings have had to be closed off, Ardgillan Community College in Balbriggan, hopes to reopen for all students this morning.

In the case of Gaelscoil Eiscir Riada, older pupils will not be going back until Thursday, while junior pupils will be accommodated on the school's ground floor.

The Department of Education has said the last handover following safety measures at schools is expected to take place at around 10pm. 

The department believes this will enable schools where work is being carried out to open as normal.

However, it points out that final decisions regarding opening rest with principals and school boards. 

The department said that the operation that took place over the weekend was a huge logistical exercise.

It said the efforts and dedication of those involved should be recognised, as well the community spirit that was in evidence in a number of locations around the country when schools needed support and contractors sought supplies over the weekend.

The department said earlier that work on "precautionary measures" at 22 schools affected by structural defects was on schedule for completion.

Forty-two buildings across the country were assessed after issues were discovered at Ardgillan Community College in Balbriggan in Dublin.

A section of the school has been closed while remedial work was carried out but it will be able to accommodate all students.

The top floor of three other schools, also in Dublin, will be out of use for a time while internal and external structural deficiencies are rectified.

External remedial work has been taking place at 19 other schools nationwide, including the installation of fencing and protective decking around some external walls.

The other 19 schools that underwent inspections were cleared to resume classes as normal after the Halloween break.

In a statement, the department said: "A number of engineering teams will be in a position to oversee handover to schools this evening."

The schools were built by Western Building Systems over the last decade.

The Tyrone-based construction company has said each school involved was previously certified as being free from defects and suitable for use by the department and its employed professionals.

The firm has also said that some of the schools identified as requiring remedial work were still in their defects liability contract period.

Additional reporting: Fergal O'Brien

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