Gaelscoil back open after get­ting all-clear

Wicklow People (Arklow) - - NEWS - By MARY FOGARTY

GREY­STONES pri­mary school Gaelscoil na gCloth Liath has re-opened fol­low­ing mid-term struc­tural in­spec­tions.

The school was one of 42 built by Western Build­ing Sys­tems be­tween 2009 and 2013 which was as­sessed in the past week.

‘I am pleased to con­firm that the De­part­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion has now com­pleted the as­sess­ment of Gaelscoil Na gClocha Liatha,’ said Min­is­ter Si­mon Har­ris on Fri­day.

The school opened on Mon­day fol­low­ing the mid-term break with no ad­di­tional works needed.

‘We were very happy to re­ceive con­fir­ma­tion from the De­part­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion and Skills, fol­low­ing a struc­tural in­spec­tion, that our build­ing does not re­quire re­me­dial works. We opened as nor­mal on Mon­day fol­low­ing the mid-term break. The struc­tural in­spec­tion took place over the mid-term, and no dis­rup­tion was caused to our school com­mu­nity,’ said prin­ci­pal Rita Ní Thuathail.

The in­spec­tion was car­ried out the Satur­day be­fore last, with the re­port then sent to the De­part­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion be­fore the school was given the green light last week.

‘Ob­vi­ously this has been a very wor­ry­ing time for the staff and par­ents of the school so I am pleased that as­sur­ances have now been given,’ said Min­is­ter Har­ris.

Deputy Stephen Don­nelly said that he is sure that pupils, par­ents and teach­ers will have been ex­tremely re­lieved to learn that no ma­jor prob­lems were found. The checks in­cluded a cam­era sur­vey of the ex­ter­nal walls, along with in­ter­nal open­ings within the build­ing.

Fire safety works to bring the school up to code were car­ried out ear­lier in the year, pend­ing new fire cer­tifi­cates from the chief fire of­fi­cer.

‘Par­ents have been wor­ried since claims emerged last month that the builder re­spon­si­ble for Grey­stones’ gaelscoil was al­legedly re­spon­si­ble for se­ri­ous struc­tural prob­lems else­where,’ said Deputy Don­nelly. ‘In fair­ness to the prin­ci­pal Rita Ní Thuathail though, she helped to ease a lot of fears by quickly con­tact­ing all par­ents, ex­plain­ing the sit­u­a­tion and show­ing how se­ri­ously they were tak­ing their con­cerns by tak­ing ur­gent ac­tion.’

Na­tion­ally, 19 schools were cleared to open with­out in­ter­ven­tion. Nine­teen other schools re­quired pre­cau­tion­ary mea­sures in the form of a fence around the build­ing, or part of the build­ing, and pro­tec­tive deck­ing. Three schools opened ini­tially at ground floor level only, fol­low­ing the im­ple­men­ta­tion of in­ter­nal en­gi­neer­ing so­lu­tions and ex­ter­nal pre­cau­tion­ary mea­sures and one build­ing (part of Ardg­illan Com­mu­nity Col­lege in Dublin) has been closed.

Western Build­ing Sys­tems is cur­rently build­ing the new Grey­stones Com­mu­nity Na­tional School premises. Chair of the board for that school Cllr Jen­nifer Whit­more said that they have sought as­sur­ances from the De­part­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion and pro­ject man­agers KSNPM re­gard­ing the build in terms of fire safety and struc­tural is­sues.

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