Across Dublin today parents, students and teachers are being left in abeyance in relation to information on the ongoing fire and safety checks in a number of schools. Ardgillan community college in Balbriggan had to close 18 classrooms and send its transition year students home for this week. St. Luke's national school in Tyrrelstown in west Dublin, which is in the Taoiseach's constituency, has been closed due to safety concerns. Again, students have been told to stay at home and enjoy an extended break. The safety concerns are understandable and that is the proper way to proceed but the difficulty for parents, students and teachers is that the information is being fed to them on a drip feed basis. They are not getting the information they need to be able to plan their lives and the lives of the students.
I understand the assessments will involve up to 30 schools and while these schools seem to have passed fire and safety checks issues are now arising with regard to the quality of the work done. The Minister for Education and Skills, Deputy McHugh, provided information to various people this morning and I understand a group was meeting in the Department on addressing a number of the issues.
We want to be absolutely clear that we support the highest possible standards for health and safety within these schools. While causing huge disruption, this work is absolutely necessary. As we are midway through this week and as next week is the mid-term, what will parents face on Monday week when the students are due to return to the schools? The schools we know about are Ardgillan community college in Balbriggan and St. Luke's in Tyrrelstown. How many other schools will not be in a position to open their doors, or to open their doors fully, on Monday week after the mid-term? Are sufficient alternative accommodations being put in place for these students and when will this information be notified to parents and to the school communities? At what stage can we get a full assessment as to the health and safety status and the quality of the 30 or so school builds around Dublin - perhaps the Taoiseach could clarify the number - that are currently being assessed by the Department of Education and Skills?