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Volunteers tackle school repairs

Irish Examiner Saturday 21/06/2008

Gerry Clerkin should be looking forward to the start of work on the €600,000 replacemnt of dozens of windows at St Patrick's National School in a few weeks. Instead the principal had to rope in twenty staff and volunteer parents to re-paint the 30 year old windows, which pupils will have to sit under for another winter because of the cancellation of the Summer Works Scheme.

The school's 480 pupils are taught in two buildings on the grounds of St Patrick's teacher training college in Drumcondra on Dublin's northside. Thae Aluminium window casings are set in teak frames but the glass is just 4 millimetres thick, and is liable to smash into tiny dangerous shards if broken.

With this safety concern in mind, the school spent €4,000 to get their architect to help file a Summer Work Scheme application last September. But the announcement in the December's spending estimates by the Department of Education that the grants scheme was not going ahead put a dent in these plans.

"There has been a few minor breaks in the windows over the years, but we really wanted to rule out the risk that someone might be hurt. Having double-glazed windows would also help us significantly reduce our heating bill for the year" said Mr Clerkin.

With an estimate of €11,000 to paint the dozen of teak windows and door frames around the school, parents decided this week that they would help out and save the expense,

"Our parents association have been fantastic, the've raised €60,000 for the school's contribution towrds the works. But the money we spent on the architect's report would have been very helpful for us to provide teaching and classroom equipment for our pupils instead of being wasted on an application that was'nt even open". said Mr Clerkin.