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Safety fencing erected at three local primary schools

November 11th, 2018 11:55 AM

By Emma Connolly

The safety fencing which was erected over the mid-term break at Gaelscoil Mhichíl Uí Choileáin was replicated in other schools. (Photo: Denis Boyle)

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FURTHER investigations have been deemed necessary at the three West Cork schools which were identified as being among the 42 nationwide built by Western Building Systems (WBS) with potential structural defects.

Safety fencing was erected around Gaelscoil Mhicíl Uí Choileáin in Clonakilty, St Colman’s Boys NS in Macroom, and Carrigaline’s Educate Together, over the recent mid-term break. 

The fencing is a temporary measure until permanent remediation works get underway, and all schools are operating as normal. 

In fact, initial assessments carried out by engineers on all five WBS Cork schools have warranted further works. 

A spokesman for the Department of Education pointed out the first round of engineering tests did not raise ‘immediate concerns or health and safety issues for internal areas’.

He said: ‘Reports back showed no structural defects but perhaps something very small relating to external walls. The fencing is a temporary measure to allow for permanent remediation works at a later stage.’

There’s no timeframe worked out as yet when the next phase of work will get underway. However, he stressed it would take place at weekends to create minimum disruption. 

After assessments, engineers either decided a school did not need fencing; needed it as a temporary solution, or required it to be partially closed. 

In total, 19 schools nationwide have fencing in place. Others, where more serious issues have been identified, have scaffolding erected. 

Principal of the Clonakilty school on the Fernhill Rd, Padraig Ó hEachtairn praised his staff, students and their parents for their ongoing support. 

The fencing has put their playground out of bounds and has caused some disruption, as it was used for parking at pick-up time. 

‘There has been some small disruption, but parents have been fantastic and are parking at the graveyard and walking down to the school,’ he said. 

He said they were unsure what the next stage in the investigation would be. 

‘We’ve just been told that the nature and extent of the situation can only be confirmed by further investigations,’ he said. 

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