LEAKS Damage caused by water leaking close to a light fitting in Gaelscoil na Cruaiche, Westport. Pic: Conor McKeown
THE Board of Management of Gaelscoil na Cruaiche has welcomed the Department of Education’s response to their concerns over the structure of the school building, saying fears over the school’s imminent closure have diminished.
Last month, the Board of Management of Gaelscoil na Cruaiche wrote to parents to inform them that the school could close without immediate action to repair its leaking roof. Six leaks were identified in different parts of the school, and a health-and-safety report found they presented a serious hazard.
The Mayo News featured the story on its front page last Tuesday, and the Department of Education subsequently informed the school that it would request engineers to undertake a detailed independent investigation of the roof structure and make recommendations to fix any issues identified with the roof structure.
Remedial work was carried out on the roof last Thursday and Saturday, and further work is due to take place today (Tuesday). A survey of the structure of the school also took place on Saturday, and the principal of Gaelscoil na Cruaiche, Mairéad Ní Ruain, told The Mayo News that as a result the school will remain open.
“The Board of Management are happy with the response of the Department of Education to our concerns, and repairs were made to the roof on Thursday and Saturday, and surveys were carried out on the structure, including the electrics. The Gaelscoil is open for business,” she said, adding that everyone wanted to ensure the welfare of the children and staff, and to ensure the school’s existence ‘for not only this generation but for generations to come’.
The Gaelscoil na Cruaiche building opened in 2011 but has been dogged by structural issues since then, with problems including the school’s sewerage system, as well as its leaking roof.
Ms Ní Ruain said that she hoped that the findings of the surveys will result in a long-term solution that prevents any more problems with the roof.
Meanwhile the Cathaoirleach of Mayo County Council, Cllr Brendan Mulroy, said that ‘heads should roll’, pointing to whoever signed off on the construction of the Gaelscoil.
“I cannot understand how an engineer has signed off on that building. We had public funding going into a public school, and water is literally coming through the roof and we are in a situation where there is talk of closing the school. In this day and age that is not on. I don’t know who is to blame, but whoever is to blame, heads should roll,” he told last week’s monthly meeting of the Westport/Belmullet Municipal District.
Cllr Mulroy also suggested that Mayo County Council’s planning-enforcement section should look into what happened with the building of the school.
Cllr John O’Malley also questioned how the school build could have been signed off given the litany of problems it has experienced since opening.
“This is a school with children and not just some warehouse. It should be built to the highest spec possible and should not be leaking. We have to see what happened and who signed off on it. They have to be answerable to somebody,” he said.