Asbestos shock - Potentially deadly fibre found in 80-plus NW schools

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Children across the North West - some aged as young as three - are attending classes in school buildings that contain cancer-causing asbestos.

Across Derry, Limavady and Strabane, more than 80 school buildings - including nursery, primary and secondary schools - have been found to contain asbestos fibre.

Asbestos, commonly used as a building material from the 1950s through to the 1980s, can cause a range of diseases, including potentially fatal asbestosis and lung cancer, if it’s disturbed and its particles become airborne.

The Department of Education has moved to assure the public that, left undisturbed, asbestos poses little threat.

“Government policy is that provided asbestos is in good condition and is unlikely to be disturbed, so it is better to manage it for the remaining life of a school rather than to disturb it,” a spokeswoman said.

The shocking extent of the presence of asbestos in schools right across the north was revealed in response to a question asked in the Stormont Assembly by SDLP MLA Patsy McGlone.

In Derry asbestos is currently present in 50 school buildings, including Carnhill Nursery, Rosemount Primary, Ebrington Primary, the Model, Immaculate Conception College and St Peter’s High School.

In Strabane asbestos is found in 14 schools while in Limavadyw the fibre is found in 20 school buildings.

Crocidolite or blue asbestos, the most dangerous form of the fibre, is not present in any north west schools.

The Department of Education spokeswoman continued: “The Department takes the matter of Health and Safety in schools very seriously and is acutely aware of the potential risk posed by asbestos containing materials for staff and pupils of educational establishments.

“The education sectors, in line with current legislation and policy, manage the presence of asbestos containing materials in the schools’ estate.”

She said should deterioration of asbestos containing materials occur, “then they should be removed, repaired or encapsulated by a licensed asbestos company”.

Last month it was revealed that across the north almost 900 schools were found to contain asbestos.

The full list of schools of north west schools is below:

Ballycolman Nursery School

Belmont Nursery School

Bligh’s Lane Nursery School

Carnhill Nursery School

Galliagh Nursery School

Strathfoyle Nursery School

Trench Road Nursery School

Altishane Primary School

Artigarvan Primary School

Ashlea Primary School

Ballougry Primary School

Ballykelly Primary School

Barrack Street Boys’ Primary School

Bellarena Primary School

Broadbridge Primary School

Bunscoil Cholmcille Primary School

Chapel Road Primary School

Craigbrack Primary School

Culmore Primary School

Cumber Claudy Primary School

Donemana Primary School

Drumachose Primary School

Drumahoe Primary School

Ebrington Primary School

Eglinton Primary School

Evish Primary School

Faughanvale Primary School

Fountain Primary School

Gaelscoil Eadain Mhoir Primary School

Gaelscoil Uí Dhochartaigh Primary School

Glendermott Primary School

Good Shepherd Primary School

Greenhaw Primary School

Groarty Primary School

Hollybush Primary School

Holy Child Primary School

Holy Family Primary School

Limavady Central Primary School

Listress Primary School

Londonderry Model Primary School

Longtower Primary School

Loughash Primary School

Mullabuoy Primary School

Nazareth House Primary School

Newbuildings Primary School

Rosemount Primary School

Sacred Heart Primary School, Trench Road

Sion Mills Primary School

St Finlough’s Primary School (Sistrakeel)

St Aidan’s Primary School, Magilligan

St Anne’s Primary School

St Anne’s Primary School

St Anthony’s Primary School

St Brigid’s Primary School

St Canice’s Primary School

St Canice’s Primary School

St Colmcille’s Primary School

St Columba’s Primary School

St Columba’s Primary School

St Eithne’s Primary School

St Eugene’s Primary School

St Eugene’s Primary School, Knocks

St John’s Primary School, Dernaflaw

St Joseph’s Primary School, Donagh

St Mary’s Primary School, Altinure

St Mary’s Primary School, Cloughcor

St Mary’s Primary School, Gortnaghey

St Mary’s PS (previously St Mary’s Boys’ PS, Strabane)

St Mary’s PS (previously St Mary’s Girls’ PS, Strabane)

St Matthew’s Primary School, Drumsurn

St Oliver Plunkett Primary School, Strathfoyle

St Patrick’s Primary School

St Paul’s Primary School, Slievemore

St Peter’s Primary School

St Peter’s & St Paul’s Primary School

St Therese Primary School, Leanmore

Steelstown Primary School

Strabane Primary School

Termoncanice Primary School

Belmont House Special School

Foyle View Special School

Rossmar Special School

Immaculate Conception College

Limavady High School

St Mary’s High School

St Patrick’s College

St Patrick’s & St Brigid’s College

St Peter’s High School

Strabane Academy – (Derry Road Site)

Strabane Academy – (Liskey Road Site)

Limavady Grammar