Local Tallaght T.D. Seán Crowe, has said that the level of structural defects in schools across the State demands ‘urgent action’; adding that no school should have to lose school days due to inadequate building standards. The TD spoke out after last week’s announcement that engineers have identified structural flaws in 17 more school buildings, including 3 in Dublin South West – Scoil Aoife Community National School (Citywest); Gaelscoil na Giúise; and Firhouse Educate Together. These schools require temporary works to be carried out in coming weeks in order to ensure that they are safe for pupils and staff to return to in September.
Deputy Seán Crowe said: “The priority in all of these instances needs to be the safety and welfare of children, staff and the wider school community. “This appears to be an escalating problem, with schools which had previously passed an initial examination now having structural defects discovered, and it is a cause of huge concern. “It was announced that engineers have identified structural flaws in 17 additional school buildings, including 3 in Dublin South West – Scoil Aoife Community National School (Citywest); Gaelscoil na Giúise; and Firhouse Educate Together. “This is on top of the 22 schools that were last year found to have serious structural defects, including Scoil Chaitlín Maude in Tallaght.
“It is quite extraordinary that some of these schools that were completed as recently as 2016 and 2017, and even last year, are defective. There are huge questions that need be answered as to why there are such apparent defects in schools which have only just been opened and had their ribbons cut. “The Department and Western Building Solutions need to tell us if they feel there is any possibility that any further defects will be found in any other recently built school.
“Parents and staff need to be assured and made fully confident that their school is now safe. “As with the schools which had defects revealed in 2018, this again raises major questions regarding the quality of the work undertaken by contractors and the light touch approach to safety and quality control by the Department, but also on a policy level, their procurement process. Parents are rightly asking how this situation was allowed to develop and how no one in authority called stop or carried out safety checks. “I am calling for the Department’s independent review of Design and Build Procurement Model to be published as soon as possible, so that any future contracts for construction can be watertight, that there will be no defects, and no pupil or school has to lose school days due to inadequate safety standards.”