Fire, safety and structural work are underway at a number of Cork schools to ensure they are safe to be occupied by staff and students this September.
Five Cork schools are among 22 across Ireland that will undergo remediation work in the coming months.
The schools are among dozens which were constructed by Western Building Systems (WBS) and which have been the subject of detailed investigations in recent months, following the identification of structural issues at some schools.
The five Cork schools are Scoil Phádraig Naofa, Rochestown; Gaelscoil Mhichíl Uí Choileáin, Clonakilty; Cara Junior (Special) School; Carrigaline Educate Together National School; and St Colman’s Boys National School, Macroom.
St Colman’s Boys NS, Carrigaline Educate Together NS, and Cara Special School are among several that will undergo structural works that commence today, with fire safety works scheduled to commence later this year.
Meanwhile, fire safety work is underway at Scoil Phádraig Naofa and Gaelscoil Mhichíl Uí Choileáin, with both schools to get structural works later this year.
The Department of Education said the schedule has been created with the aim of having as much of the works as possible completed in the 22 schools by the end of 2019.
In the event that some works in some schools are not completed by the end of August, contractors will carry out the remainder of the job outside of school hours to prevent disruption.
Over the course of the last fortnight, information sessions have been held for principals and management of the 22 schools and their patrons.
Each school has been given a brief on the detail of the permanent remediation works to be carried out in their school.
“Safety remains our number one priority,” said Minister Joe McHugh.
“We targeted the summer holidays to get as much of the structural work done as we can, so that precautionary measures can be removed from the schools as soon as the permanent works are completed.
“I am fully aware of the difficulties that this issue has caused for principals, teachers, parents, and pupils as they go about their day-to-day business,” he added.
“I am glad that we have now reached the stage where we can implement works that will enable the schools to return to a normal school environment as quickly as possible.”
The structural remediation work will be carried out by John Sisk & Son and overseen by Arup Engineers.
Alongside the first tranche of remediation works, the Department is also carrying out detailed structural investigations of another 17 schools built by WBS but which did not require initial precautionary measures.
These investigations will take place during the summer in parallel with the permanent remediation works at the other 22 schools.