The Deputy will be aware that the Department commenced a programme of structural assessments in over 40 schools built by the company in late October last year. At that time, a part of 1 school building was closed, immediate precautionary measures were put in place in 22 schools, with the remaining 17 schools not requiring immediate precautionary measures pending further detailed investigations. Detailed investigations in the 22 schools with precautionary measures in place took place between January and May 2019. The first phase of the School Remediation Programme for these schools took place during the 2019 summer holiday period with permanent remediation work carried out enabling the removal of precautionary measures in full in 14 schools and preparatory work well advanced to commence structural remediation work in the remaining 8 schools.
Planned detailed investigations in the remaining 17 schools also took place over the Summer months. The engineering advice following those detailed investigations was that some temporary engineering solutions and other precautionary measures should be completed in some parts of some of these buildings until permanent remediation works were designed, programmed and delivered. These works were completed in advance of these schools re-opening for the new school year.
The programme to complete the remediation of all the impacted schools is continuing, with the intention to maximise the summer holiday periods in 2020 and 2021 to carry out permanent works.
My Department continues to liaise with the Chief State Solicitor’s Office and the Attorney General’s Office on the on-going legal process related to the schools built by the contractor involved. Proceedings have issued in a number of schools to date. The next date Court date is expected to be in October 2019. For legal reasons, my Department is not in a position, at this time, to provide the costs for the remediation work.