08 November, 2018 - Minister McHugh expresses appreciation for collaboration on reopening of schools

The Department of Education and Skills confirms that as of tomorrow, Friday 9November, all students in schools which have been affected by structural issues will be able to return to class.

Tyrrelstown Educate Together National School (ETNS) reopened today, with junior classes accommodated on the ground floor of the building and senior classes off-site.

The Board of Management has now confirmed that the ground floor of St Luke’s National School Tyrrelstown will reopen from tomorrow. Senior classes already returned today, accommodated in a neighbouring school.

The Department of Education and Skills worked closely with schools throughout the week to address any outstanding concerns and to put final arrangements in place for reopening.

Minister for Education and Skills, Joe McHugh T.D. said:

“I would like to express my sincere thanks to everyone who has worked together to make it possible for all children to return to school by the end of this week.  

In challenging circumstances, school communities have rallied together with one objective in mind – ensuring a safe environment for children to learn.

I would particularly like to acknowledge the role of school principals, staff, Boards of Management and patron bodies who worked tirelessly alongside Department officials through the past two or so weeks.

We appreciate the operational and logistical challenges that have arisen for many schools and the commitment of all involved to putting solutions in place.  

This has been a particularly disruptive time for parents and guardians – I know many have had to arrange childcare or take time off work this week. I would like to thank them for their understanding and for their collaboration with school staff in ensuring that any new arrangements run smoothly.  

The reopening of schools this week required a very significant mobilisation from the private sector – well beyond the normal call of duty – and I have contacted a number of the companies directly to express appreciation for their collaboration.

I would also like to acknowledge the support received by the Department from the National Development Finance Agency.

We are conscious that there are particular logistical challenges for those schools in which only the ground floor is reopening this week. An immediate priority is to determine how best we can facilitate the safe and timely opening of the upper floors of those buildings.

We will also move as quickly as possible to the next phase of structural investigations at the 42 schools 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.”