At a recent meeting with the Principal and Board of Management of St Patricks NS in Diswellstown, I was shown the ongoing damage occurring in the school due to the presence of pyrite in its foundations. Following the meeting, I asked the Green Party TDs to put a question to the Minister for Education regarding how many schools in the country were contaminated with pyrite and how much was being spent on short term repairs.

The Minister responded to say five national schools across Dublin had pyrite in their foundations and that substantial sums of money had been spent so far in undertaking short term repairs, including €167,000 in St. Patricks NS. Funding has also been approved for Castleknock Educate Together NS to deal with damaged floors, doors and paths, though the amount was not announced as it is currently commercially sensitive. In total, almost €300,000 has been spent on short term repairs to these schools, with further costs still being incurred.

The Minister also stated that legal action was being taken against some of the companies involved. However, it would appear that until this legal action has been resolved, the long term solution needed for these schools, which is the complete removal of all pyrite from their foundations, will not go ahead. Instead, the schools will have to face the ongoing disruption of gradual damage being caused by pyrite and money being spent on short-term repairs – money which would be better invested in actual education infrastructure.

The Minister needs to stop waiting for the outcome of the legal case, and devise a plan to quickly remove pyrite from all these schools. This is going to have to happen sooner or later, and the sooner the Minister acts, the less disruption children and teachers in these schools will face and the less of the Department’s money that will be wasted on continuous, short-term repairs.

 

Link to Dail question setting out what schools are contaminated by pyrite: https://www.kildarestreet.com/wrans/?id=2019-10-08a.335&s=section%3Awrans+speaker%3A411#g336.q

Link to Dail question setting out how much has been spent on short-term repairs: https://www.kildarestreet.com/wrans/?id=2019-10-08a.341&s=section%3Awrans+speaker%3A411#g342.q

Link to Dail question setting out the status of the legal action taken by the Department of Education against companies that used pyrite contaminated material: https://www.kildarestreet.com/wrans/?id=2019-10-08a.338&s=section%3Awrans+speaker%3A411#g339.q