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Conditions at Eglish National School are Completely Unacceptable for Teachers and Children

11 March, 2009

Conditions at Eglish National School are completely unacceptable for teachers and children - Sinn Féin EU candidate

Date for Health and Safety Authority Improvement Order on the school has passed

Following a visit to Eglish National School in Ahascragh, County Galway, Sinn Fein's EU candidate for the North West constituency, Cllr Pádraig Mac Lochlainn has described conditions in the school for teachers and children as "completely unacceptable". Deputy Mayor of Galway and local Sinn Féin Councillor, Dermot Connolly accompanied Cllr Mac Lochlainn for the visit.

Cllr Mac Lochlainn said:

"I have to say that I was absolutely shocked at the conditions at Eglish National School. It is so bad that the Health and Safety authority has issued an Improvement Order on the school, the deadline for which passed in recent weeks. It really is a scandal that Department of Education officials cannot just move immediately to build a new school at this location for the teachers and 49 children rather than adding them onto a list with no end in site. I would be stunned if there are any National Schools with worse conditions ahead of them. I certainly can say that I haven't seen worse".

"The School is 110 years old and is just crumbling. At one stage, the school had to be closed for a number of days when dangerous fungus was discovered and fungal growth on the walls is ongoing. The windows are crumbling and the children inside are protected from glass breaking by bird wire. It is like a prison scene but this is where children are educated in the year 2009.

The roof was recently felted and tarred over to prevent loose slates and leaks but that is now coming off. The prefabs adjoining the school are a waste of money and are completely inadequate with leakages and poor insulation and heating. The toilet facilities in both prefab and school are just shocking"

He concluded

"Despite recent emergency funding, they were only able to paper over the cracks. I am calling on Minister for Education Batt O' Keefe to immediately visit this School and try to justify not releasing the funds for a new school building at this location. My party colleagues will be pressing him at the earliest opportunity to do so in the Dáil".

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