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Update on the Schools Remediation Programme for 40 Schools Constructed by Western Building Systems

Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh T.D. has today (14 August) provided an update on the remediation programme for 40 schools constructed by Western Building Systems (WBS).

Some 22 schools were included in the first phase of the programme over the course of the school summer holidays, with permanent engineering solutions designed for each school.

This structural remediation work has been carried out in 14 of these 22 schools over the last six to seven weeks. This enables the precautionary measures in these schools to be removed as the work is completed.

Structural remediation work in the remaining 8 of these 22 schools is due to commence later this year.

Planned fire safety remediation works were carried out in these eight schools during the summer. This fire safety remediation programme will progress to the 14 schools which have undergone structural remediation.

Minister McHugh said:

Good progress is being made on the programme for remediation works in the schools.

I want to thank the principals, patrons, boards of management, teachers, parents and pupils in these schools. It is with their support and cooperation while the work is carried out that we can restore their schools to normality.

I am deeply conscious of the disruption and difficulties that this issue has caused since last autumn. It is a complex problem that has required intensive analysis and tailored solutions following detailed assessment by engineers.

Seventeen schools are included in the second phase of the remediation programme. These have undergone detailed assessments over recent weeks.

Engineers have advised that some permanent remediation work is required in each of these schools.  In the interim, some temporary engineering solutions and other precautionary measures are being put in place in some parts of some of these school buildings.

A decision on the design solution for Ardgillan Community College is due to be finalised in September.

School principals and patrons in all 40 schools are being briefed on progress of the remediation programme.

Minister McHugh added:

Safety has always been at the heart of our response to the structural deficiencies that were identified in these schools. It will continue to be.

Any permanent or temporary engineering solutions or precautionary measures that are advised by engineers as a result of detailed assessment and analysis of these buildings are being undertaken.

Notes for editors

  1. Detailed listing of schools

Some 40 schools are included in the remediation programme

These include –

22 schools that were included in the first phase of the summer 2019 remediation works programme. 14 of these have undergone permanent structural remediation. Work will commence on another 8 over the course of the next few months. 

17 schools that underwent further detailed analysis and where temporary engineering solutions and other precautionary measures are planned.

And Ardgillan Community College, where a decision on the design solution is to be finalised in the coming weeks.



Permanently remediated – 14 schools*






Tyrrelstown Educate Together NS



St Luke's NS



GS Eiscir Riada, Lucan



Cara Special School, Banduff Road



De Lacy College, Ashbourne



Gaelscoil na Mí, Ashbourne



Ashbourne Educate Together NS



Scoil Phadraig Naofa, Athy



GS Phortlaoise



Portlaoise Educate Together NS



Portarlington Convent NS



Macroom BNS



St Paul's NS, Ratoath



Carrigaline Educate Together NS



*Fire safety works will commence in these 14 schools in the coming months.



Fire safety works undertaken;

Structural works commencing in coming months – 8 schools.









Athy Model School



Gaelscoil Átha Í



Scoil Phadraig Naofa, Rochestown



Griffeen Valley Educate Together NS



Lucan East Educate Together NS



*GS Mhicíl Uí Choileáin, Clonakilty



Scoil Chaitlín Maude, Tallaght



Castlemills Education Centre, Balbriggan



*some permanent structural remediation work has been completed, further work to be carried out summer 2020.



Detailed investigations completed, temporary remediation and precautionary measures being undertaken – 17 schools.



School Name



Luttrellstown Community College



Gaelscoil Shliabh Rua, Dublin 18



Broombridge Educate Together NS, Cabra



Scoil Choilm Community National School, Porterstown



Gaelscoil na Giúise, Firhouse



Gaelscoil Thulach na nÓg, Dunboyne



Maryborough National School, Portlaoise



Scoil Aoife Community National School, Citywest



Letterkenny Educate Together NS



Firhouse Educate Together NS



St Joseph's Primary School, Gorey



Lucan Community National School, Balgaddy Rd



Gaelscoil na gCloch Liath, Greystones



Rush and Lusk Educate Together NS



Galway Educate Together NS, Newcastle



Gaelscoil Mhic Aodha, Kildare Town



Mullingar Educate Together NS



Decision on design solution to be finalised in September – 1 school



Ardgillan Community College, Balbriggan

2. Background 

A programme of initial structural assessments was carried out in October and November 2018 at 42 schools constructed by Western Building Systems.

The initial assessments resulted in precautionary measures being put in place at 22 schools, the partial closure of one school building with the remaining 19 schools cleared to open in full initially without any precautionary measures as an interim response.

Two schools investigated at that time, Belmayne Educate Together NS and St Francis of Assisi NS, Belmayne have since moved to purpose built accommodation and are, consequently, no longer the subject of the schools remediation programme.  This reduces the number of schools involved in the schools remediation programme to 40. 

3. Second Phase of Detailed Investigations (January to May 2019)

The structural investigations carried out in October/November 2018 were based on sample opening up works only. Detailed structural investigation were required to inform the full nature and extent of the issues with individual buildings and to design any permanent remediation works necessary from the information gathered. These detailed investigations were carried out on the 22 schools with precautionary measures in place and at Ardgillan Community College between January and May 2019.

John Sisk & Son was appointed as the contractor to conduct the opening-up and testing works to facilitate the investigations. Ove Arup and Partners Ireland Limited (t/a Arup) were appointed to carry out the investigations and to design the permanent engineering solutions as required for each individual school.

These detailed investigations (23 in total), took place outside of school opening times to minimise disruption to the schools.   They were completed over the period from January to May, allowing the engineering experts to design permanent remediation works for affected schools.

4. Information Sessions (June 2019)

A series of individual information sessions was provided for school patrons and management in the Department of Education and Skills in the run up to the commencement of the works programme to permanently remediate the 22 schools at the start of the summer holidays.   These briefings gave an outline of the schedule of works and the nature of the remediation at an individual school level and were part of the process of keeping schools up to date in response to concerns about structural issues and providing them with as much clear information from the outset.

5. Commencement of Structural Remediation Work – 22 Schools

The structural remediation work programme for the 22 schools commenced at the start of the school holiday period.

Structural remediation work began in 14 of the schools at the start of their summer holiday period. For the remaining 8 schools, certain fire remediation works commenced at the start of their summer holiday period with structural remediation work in those schools planned to commence in quarter 4 2019.

The work programme seeks to maximise the summer school holiday period such that the majority of the structural remediation work is completed during that time. The intention is to have as much of this work as possible completed in all 22 schools by the end of 2019. The Department’s planned Fire Safety Remediation programme will run in alignment with the structural remediation work.

John Sisk & Son and Ove Arup and Partners Ireland Limited (t/a Arup) were also appointed to carry out this permanent remediation work. The Department is being supported in the overall delivery of the structural remediation programme by the NDFA. 

6. Ardgillan Community College

A specific plan for the remediation of the part of the school building in Ardgillan Community College that is closed is being developed. It is expected that work on determining the appropriate remediation approach will be completed by the end of September 2019. The school management and Patron are being kept up to date on progress. 

7. Detailed investigations for remaining schools

The third phase of the school remediation programme is detailed investigations in the 17 schools, also built by WBS, but which did not require initial precautionary measures.  

These investigations are a follow up to the initial assessments (which were based on sample opening up works) carried out in October/November 2018, for the purpose of determining the extent of the longer term remediation works required in those schools. These investigations will be completed this week. 

The detailed investigations have identified the need for some permanent remediation work to be undertaken in each of the 17 schools.  The aim is to undertake permanent remediation work in these schools primarily over the summer holiday periods in 2020 and 2021.  Some precautionary actions are now being taken in these buildings as an interim measure pending these works being undertaken.  Details will be explained to the schools individually.

8. Legal Process 

The Department continues to liaise with the Chief State Solicitor’s Office and the Attorney General’s Office on the on-going legal process.

9. Independent Review of D&B Construction Model for School Buildings Internationally

The Minister has commissioned an independent review of current use and practices in the Design and Build Procurement/Construction Model for the delivery of school buildings (or other similar public buildings) internationally. The procurement process for the organisation to carry out this work is currently nearing completion. The Minister will announce the outcome of that process when completed. The intention is that the organisation’s report will be published in Quarter 4 this year.

The nature of this element of the independent review is designed to ensure that it does not prejudice the on-going legal process. Following advice from the Attorney General Office, the planned independent review of the Department’s Design & Build Programme will not now commence until the legal process has concluded. That being said, the Independent Review of D&B Construction Model for School Buildings Internationally will be an important precursor for (and input into) the wider independent review once commenced.