Education Minister Richard Bruton must answer questions on schools fire safety

September 3, 2017

The Minister for Education Richard Bruton TD must answer serious questions about fire safety deficiencies in schools, Social Democrats Councillor Cian O’Callaghan said today.

Cllr O’Callaghan’s comments follow the recent publication by the Department of Education of fire safety audits into five primary schools in Dublin, Wicklow, and Westmeath built under the department’s ‘rapid build’ programme in 2008.

Cllr O’Callaghan said:

“The current government is neither media shy nor adverse to publicity. Yet when it comes to the safety of our children in primary schools and fire safety defects they are suddenly missing in action.  Minister Bruton has many questions to answer about the slow and almost casual response to fire safety defects in our schools. These include:

  • Why when he was appointed as Minister for Education in May 2016 did he not insist that urgent remedial works in the five primary schools that were subject to fire safety audits be carried out immediately?
  • Why were the department’s fire safety audits withheld from the boards of management of these schools, despite numerous requests for them to be made available, before they were released to the media last Friday?
  • Why was this important information also withheld from parents?
  • Who is footing the bill for the fire safety audits and remedial repairs?
  • Why were fire safety audits in all other rapid build schools not carried out as a matter of urgency?
  • When will fire safety audits in all rapid build schools be completed and when will any necessary remedial works identified commence?
  • Why did his Department not ensure independent inspection of all rapid build schools at time of construction?
  • Has the Minister and his Department put in place any measures to ensure independent inspection of new build schools for compliance with fire safety regulations?
  • Does the Minister think that is acceptable to have children going to school in buildings that have serious fire safety deficiencies?”


3 September 2017