Belmayne Educate Together National School, Dublin; Cian O’Callaghan
Fire safety audits commissioned by the Department of Education have found breaches of fire safety standards at five recently-built primary schools.
The schools are Gaelscoil Clocha Liatha in Greystones, Co Wicklow; Mullingar Educate Together, Westmeath; Powerstown Educate Together National School, Dublin; Belmayne Educate Together National School, Dublin; and St Francis of Assisi National School, also in Belmayne, Dublin.
The schools were under a rapid-build programme in 2008 by a company called Western Building System The fire inspection reports were carried out in early 2016.
Cian O’Callaghan writes:
The current government is neither media shy nor averse to publicity. Yet when it comes to school fire safety there hasn’t been any comment from Minister for Education Richard Burton
Here are five questions that he should answer:
1. Why when he was appointed as Minister for Education in May 2016 did he not insist that urgent remedial works in five primary schools, that were subject to fire safety audits, were carried out immediately?
2. Why were these fire safety audits withheld from the boards of management of these schools despite numerous requests for them to be made available and why was this important information withheld from parents?
3. Why were fire safety audits in all other rapid build schools not carried out as a matter of urgency?
4. When will fire safety audits in all rapid build schools be completed and when will any necessary remedial works identified commence?
5. Why did his Department not ensure independent inspection of these rapid build schools at time of construction and are any measures in place now to ensure independent inspection of new build schools for compliance with fire safety regulations?
Cian O’Callaghan is a Social Democrats councillor on Fingal County Council. Follow Cian on Twitter: @ocallaghancian