PYRITE has been discovered in three Northside primary schools. Presence of the material, which has plagued thousands of houses on the Northside, has been identified in St Patrick's in Diswellstown, St Canice's Boys’ School in Finglas and at St Peter's School in Phibsboro.
The pyrite was confirmed after “emergency remedial works were required to free fire doors, toppling fitted furniture” according to Department of Education documents.
One of the schools, St Patrick’s in Diswellstown, Castleknock, was only built in 2006. But problems began to appear in recent years with distorted door-frames, skirting boards and fittings, pre-cast stairs lifting and extensive cracking.
Fears have been raised for the safety of the children attending these schools and calls have been made for the Department of Education to address the problems no matter what the cost.
Local councillor Kieran Dennison (FG) said the safety of schoolchildren was “paramount”.
“It is very disappointing that scarce resources must now be used to make newly built schools safe again,” he stated.
“Years of sloppy building standards and poor regulation by the previous Government are coming back to haunt us when we can least afford it.
“I shall be asking the council to indicate if the shared community and sports facility at St Patrick's National School has also been inspected for pyrite and if not to take immediate action.”
Pyrite problems have been generally limited to the greater Dublin area.
The material was found in the infill used underneath the buildings of the three Northside schools.
The substance reacts with air or water and expands, causing buildings above it to swell and crack.
To date up to 20,000 homes have been identified with the problem.
Cllr Dennison is calling for a risk assessment to be carried out on other civic buildings to ensure they are free of pyrite.
Deputy Patrick Nulty (Lab) described the discovery of pyrite in the schools as a very serious development.
“Parents and staff have a right to expect that all necessary repairs will be undertaken immediately and without delay,” he stated.
A spokesperson for the Department of Education told Northside People that it carried out a risk assessment last year to examine whether any education facilities were affected by pyrite.
“Schools in the greater Dublin area, which had undertaken building works in the last 10 years or so, are considered to be at most risk,” the spokesperson stated.
“The department’s risk assessment identified a total of 24 schools to be at most at risk of pyrite damage.
“All 24 schools had building projects in recent years and were located near to the quarries known to have supplied material which contained pyrite.
“The schools were in Dublin, Meath, Kildare, Offaly and Westmeath.”
The spokesperson added: “Of the 24 schools examined, three were identified as showing signs of pyrite damage: St Patrick's in Diswellstown, St Canice's Boys’ School in Finglas and St Peter's in Phibsboro.”
The extent of the risk is currently being surveyed in each school by consultants engaged by the department and/or the schools’ board of management.
“Where remedial works are deemed necessary, these have been undertaken,” the Department of Education spokesperson concluded.