Precautionary works for three Kildare schools

Department of Education: To fence around parts of the buildings

Paula Campbell

Reporter:

Paula Campbell

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paula@leinsterleader.ie

Precautionary works for three Kildare schools

Artist mock up of the fencing

Three schools in Kildare are having fences built around parts of the buildings after being structurally assessed following construction work by Western Building Systems (WBS).

The Athy schools of Scoil Phádraig Naofa, Gaelscoil Átha í and Athy Model School, all underwent a programme of structural assessments last week following construction work by Western Building Systems (WBS). They were determined by engineers for the Department of Education and Skills to open in full on yesterday, Monday November 4 once external intervention in the form of a fence around the building and protective decking was constructed.

The fourth school under assessment, Gael Scoil Mhic Aodha in Kildare town, was cleared to open in full without any intervention.

“We are totally relieved,” said acting Principal Niamh ni Dhuinn.

“The structural assessment has been carried out and there is no intervention required. We are still waiting the results of our fire audit survey — a fire safety officer was out a few weeks ago and said that everything looked fine.”

Kildare South TD Martin Heydon said the works are a precautionary measure.

“In regard to Gaelscoil Átha í and Athy Model School the works only need to be carried out to the external of the General Purpose Hall extensions,” he said.

“The Department of Education meanwhile cannot put a time frame on how long scaffolding, fencing and other safety measures will be in place at the schools in Kildare. A question and answer information sheet sent to 19 schools around the country outlines the temporary measures that must be taken and why.”

It also gives an indication as to what happens next.

In its circular, the Department says it was the intention to have precautionary measures implemented by Sunday, November 4 to enable safe occupancy from yesterday.

The Department described this as a ‘challenging time frame’ and will remain in close contact with principals. External measures include high steel mesh ‘heras-type’ fencing, decked canopies supported by scaffolding above doorways. The fencing is erected at a distance from the school walls that is equal to or greater than the height of the building.