Fire safety issues identified at five primary schools

The Department of Education says fire audits will be carried out at up to 25 schools built in the last 20 years

Fire safety issues identified at five primary schools

File photo of Department of Education. Image: RollingNews.ie

The Department of Education is to carry out fire audits of up to 25 schools built in the last 20 years.

The audits of a "representative sample" of recently-built schools are said to be an "added precaution" amid international concerns about fire safety in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire in London.

Separately, fire safety breaches have been discovered during inspections of five primary schools in Dublin, Wicklow and Westmeath.

Issues were identified at Powerstown Educate Together National School, Belmayne Educate Together National School, and St Francis of Assisi National School in Belmayne, as well as Gaelscoil Clocha Liatha in Greystones and Mullingar Educate Together National School.

The schools were built under a rapid build scheme in 2008.

The Powerstown school has since been replaced with a new school building, with two others set to be replaced next year. 

In a statement, the Department explained: "The findings of these reports indicated issues of insufficient compliance with some requirements of the fire safety certificates in relation to fire retardation in those buildings.

"The reports found that while the designs which underpinned the Fire Safety Certificates required that the buildings would provide 60 minutes of retardation to facilitate evacuation, the actual quality of construction indicated a level of retardation less than this."

The department has stressed that this "is not a finding that the buildings are dangerous", and remedial works are due to completed at all of the affected schools by the end of October.

Dublin City Councillor Michael O'Brien - whose district includes the two Belmayne schools - said the findings of the report are a "disaster for Belmayne".

The Solidarity Councillor explained: "I will submit an emergency motion for Monday night's Dublin City Council meeting seeking comment from the Fire Officers about what resources they need for an accelerated inspection regime of both public buildings and housing estates built during the era of light-touch 'regulation'."