Written Answers. - Radon Gas.

Enda Kenny

Ceist:

131 Mr. Kenny asked the Minister for Education if he has satisfied himself that all schools checked by the Nuclear Energy Board in respect of Radon Gas are completely safe for attendance by school children in Counties Mayo and Galway; and if he will make a statement in respect of a specific school (details supplied) regarding the overall safety of the school for the pupils involved.

I am aware of the situation in relation to Randon Gas. Since this question came to notice some years ago, my Department has been in continuous consultation with the Radiological. Protection Institute of Ireland, formerly the Nuclear Energy Board. The Institute has completed an investigation into all national schools in Counties Galway and Mayo including detailed technical surveys at the bulk of these schools. A very small number of schools required further measurement of the gas level. My Department is prepared to grant-aid any works necessary to deal with the problem in collaboration with the school authorities and having the fullest regard to the technical advices available.

As regards the specific school referred to by the Deputy, certain remediation works were carried out in conjunction with an extension to the school. It is being brought to my Department's attention that these measures have not proven as effective as was expected. Officers from my Department, the Department of Energy and RPII visited the school last week and a side meeting has been arranged for tomorrow with an expert contractor with a view to implementing further measures urgently.

The Deputy will appreciate that this is a new phenomenon as far as my Department is concerned. To date it has taken all necessary steps following consultation at the widest level to deal with the difficulties that have emerged. I can assure him and all concerned that my Department will continue its efforts to facilitate the execution of any remediation works at any school where it is found to be necessary.