VIDEO:

Prefab removal has started at Portlaoise school ahead of complete demolition

Lynda Kiernan

Reporter:

Lynda Kiernan

Email:

lynda.kiernan@leinsterexpress.ie


Workers have moved on-site today at a vacated Portlaoise school to begin removing prefabs, with the school to be soon completely demolished.

St Paul's NS on the Borris Road closed its doors last June, with the students now part of the new parish Holy Family Junior and Senior schools in a new building in Aughnaharna.

Today Tuesday November 7, a team arrived to begin removing the prefab classrooms on the site, breaking down part of the school wall to do so.

They expect to have the prefabs gone by Thursday, with demolition to follow of the entire building.  

In its place the Department of Education will construct a new two story 12 classroom special needs building for St Francis School, which has 94 pupils aged from 5 to 19 with learning disabilities.

The St Paul's site has been given by Portlaoise Parish, with the dept to pay for demolition and construction.

Fr Paddy Byrne CC, chairman of St Francis Board of Management, hopes demolition will start within weeks.

"It is full steam ahead, we have everything all signed off, I am in constant communication with the department, and my sense is that in the coming weeks the building will be fully demolished," he told the Leinster Express today.

St Paul's was set on fire last week by vandals. See story here. 

Fr Paddy said this is a concern and hopes demolition will take place quickly.

"For us as a parish, it is a concern that the building was badly vandalised, nobody wants to see that," he said.

St Francis school is currently in an old cold cramped prefab style building on the Timahoe Road. Parents have been campaigning for a new school for many years. 

Last July it was announced that a new school would be 'fast-tracked' by the Dept of Education and would be built by September 2018. Read more here.