Last students affected by school structures controversy to return to class tomorrow

The ground floor of St Luke's National School in Tyrrelstown is to reopen tomorrow

Last students affected by school structures controversy to return to class tomorrow

St Luke's NS in Tyrrelstown. Photo: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

The Minister for Education has pledged to fast-track the next stage of investigations at 42 schools caught up in the school buildings controversy.

It comes after the Department of Education announced that all students at the affected schools will be invited to return to class tomorrow.

Over 1,000 children in Dublin returned to class today for the first time since the structural issues were uncovered at their schools last month.

Tyrrelstown Educate Together National School re-opened with junior classes accommodated on site and seniors bussed to the nearby Hansfield Educate Together Secondary School for classes.

Senior students at the adjacent St Luke's National School were brought to the nearby Le Cheile School for classes today while junior and senior infants were asked to remain at home.

The ground floor of the school is expected to reopen tomorrow with the junior classes to be held on-site.

Senior Pupils at Gaelscoil Eiscir Riada in Lucan have also returned to class.

Upper floors

In a statement, the Minister for Education Joe McHugh said the Government’s “immediate priority” is to “facilitate the safe and timely opening of the upper floors of those buildings.”

He said authorities will “move as quickly as possible to the next phase of structural investigations at the 42 schools” involved in the controversy and “following on from this, to implement any remediation works required.”

“I can assure the school communities involved that no effort will be spared in ensuring these issues are comprehensively and permanently resolved,” he said.

Parents and children protested outside St Luke’s this morning – warning that the building was not safe for children to return to.

Yesterday the school insisted its ground floor was “structurally sound” but said it had taken into account “the safety concerns raised by the parents” in remaining closed this morning.

Lisa O'Hagan is a parent who visited St Luke's on Wednesday.

"The windows - there's like boxes kind of going around the windows, so kids can't get access to the windows to get them open or anything like that.

"The beams in the ceiling were loose - you could see basically everything".

Minister McHugh acknowledged that the last few weeks have been “a particularly disruptive time for parents and guardians.”

“I know many have had to arrange childcare or take time off work this week,” he said.

“I would like to thank them for their understanding and for their collaboration with school staff in ensuring that any new arrangements run smoothly.”