WATCH: Work starts on building protective fences around Portlaoise schools

Lynda Kiernan

Reporter:

Lynda Kiernan

Fencing has arrived this morning Wednesday October 31 on site to start building protective walkways around Portlaoise schools caught up in a building controversy.

Gaelscoil Phortlaoise and Portlaoise Educate Together NS must get protection from potential falling structures, at every external doorway and fire exit, and around the perimeter of the building.

This follows engineering inspections of the schools' walls over the bank holiday weekend.

Both schools have issued statements to parents to say that arising from the inspection report, further investigation is required on the building in the days ahead.

"Contractors will install temporary protective measures to ensure the safety of our children, staff and visitors. These include a perimeter fence (exclusion zone) around the building and protective walkways at school entry and exit doors," the Educate Together school said, in a similar statement to the Gaelscoil's.

Both hope the work will be completed in time for children to return to lessons next Monday November 5.

"Although we expect to open Monday, we await official confirmation from the Department on this and will be in contact with you in due course," the Gaelscoil stated to parents.

Read more here.

The Gaelscoil and Educate Together buildings are part of a three school campus in Portlaoise, both are two storey schools while Maryborough NS is a single-storey construction.

Presentation Primary School in Portarlington is also undergoing inspection. 

The schools are among 42 around Ireland, built by Western Building Systems that are now under inspection after deficiencies were found in fire safety and wall structures of some schools. The company built all the schools for the Department of Education as 'Rapid Build' projects.