Whitmore raises concern following fire at Greystones school

Social Democrats Cllr., and party spokesperson for Children, Jennifer Whitmore has slammed the Department of Education for lack of urgency in dealing with the fire safety at Greystones’ Gaelscoil na Cloch Liatha, following a report that a small fire broke out at the school over the weekend. 

Cllr. Whitmore said “A concerned parent came to me following being notified of a small fire that broke out at the school over the weekend. They were particularly concerned that fire safety upgrades, that were required as part of a report published by the Dept of Education in September 2017, still had not been completed. It is pure luck that the fire happened over the weekend, when there were no children on site with more serious consequences. 

“The Minister stated in October 2017, in response to a parliamentary question lodged by my party colleague Roisin Shortall TD, that the works would be completed in March 2018. However, the latest update from the school provided to parents indicates that it will be September 2018 before the works are done. Even simple works, such as the installation of illuminated fire safety signs, have yet to be completed despite the Minister stating in October that they would be done in a matter of weeks. What’s more unbelievable is that the Department were aware in 2015 that there were fire safety issues with this school”

“It is absolutely outrageous that these works have yet to be finished and that children’s lives are being put at risk. This recent fire is a wake-up call that the Minister can no longer ignore. The fire safety works at Gaelscoil na Cloch Liatha must be undertaken immediately, and the minister needs to ensure that all the resources necessary are put to ensuring that this happens.

A report issued by the Department of Education in Sept 2107 identified a number of breaches of fire safety standards in 5 schools across the country, including the Gaelscoil in Greystones. The report gave the result of fire safety audits that had been conducted in 2016 on a number of schools that had been built by Western Building Systems, as part of the Department of Education’s ‘rapid build’ school programme in 2008. Gaelscoil Clocha Liatha in Greystones was one of those schools.”

The audit identified a number of deficiencies, including lack of illuminated signage, missing smoke seals and, importantly, that elements of the construction material meant that the required 60 minutes of retardation to facilitate evacuation would not be met. The audits detailed that immediate and essential improvement works should be carried out in the buildings to bring them up to fire safety compliance standards. 

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