Educate Together today welcomes Minister Richard Bruton’s announcement that the Department of Education and Skills (DES) intends to carry out immediate precautionary fire safety audits on a number of schools around Ireland, including a number of Educate Together school buildings that were constructed under the Rapid Build Programme.
The Educate Together school buildings to be included in the new audit of school buildings are:
- Tyrrelstown ETNS
- Portlaoise ETNS
- Lucan East ETNS
- Carrigaline ETNS
- Broombridge ETNS
- Ashbourne ETNS
- Griffeen Valley ETNS
Educate Together has been in contact with representatives from the schools in question and has been assured by the Department that the buildings are safe. Educate Together is in ongoing communication with these schools and the DES.
This is in addition to the recently announced DES spot-check on a representative sample of up to 30 school buildings around the country.
Today’s announcement comes in response to ‘fire stopping’ issues identified recently in a number of school buildings that were constructed under the Rapid Build Programme in 2008. Regarding these schools, three of which were under Educate Together patronage, a DES statement states that:
“It is worth noting again that the Department has no reason to believe that there are issues with fire safety provisions in schools generally. These additional steps are an added precaution being taken by the Department, prompted by recent concerns in Ireland and abroad regarding fire safety in public buildings.”
Three Educate Together schools in Letterkenny, Firhouse and Galway are currently under construction and Educate Together has been assured by the Department of Education that an independent auditor will remain on-site to supervise the building of these schools.
Educate Together is also encouraged to see that the Department has accepted Educate Together’s suggestion that a suitably qualified Clerk of Works is to be appointed to all future major building projects to enhance the oversight and inspection of works when they are being carried out. Amongst other measures announced today, an internal fire safety committee is also being established within the Department to keep lines of communications open between the DES, schools and patrons, which Educate Together welcomes.
It is anticipated it will take approximately six months to complete the fire safety audits on the school buildings that were constructed under the Rapid Build Programme. The sample audit is expected to be concluded by January 2018.
The Department has also set up a special email address to which schools can email any queries which arise from this announcement. The email address is PBUQueries@education.gov.ie