Wasted spend on HEPA filters for Limerick schools

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Aontú Education Committee member Eric Nelligan

MILLIONS of Euro has been wasted on the purchase of HEPA filters that still haven’t been delivered to schools and education settings.

That’s according to Aontú Education Committee member Eric Nelligan who said that in the week before the Christmas holidays, €62 million was made available to all schools for the purchase of HEPA filters.

But according to Mr Nelligan, a post-primary teacher in Limerick, these filters have not been delivered and are now effectively redundant after the announcement that most restrictions have been lifted.

“On Friday January 21, the day of the announcement that restrictions were to be lifted, I spoke to five post-primary principals in Limerick and Clare. All five said they had ordered dozens of HEPA that still hadn’t been delivered for a cost of over €125,000 in their five schools alone,” Mr Nelligan told the Limerick Post.

“The general education system sees plenty of budgetary restrictions. My local primary school in Monaleen has been waiting for years for an expansion that was granted in 2015. A large proportion of the school population is scandalously housed on prefabs,” he added.

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A Department of Education spokesperson said that managing ventilation is just one of a suite of public health measures in place to keep schools safe.

“There is no one solution that fits all scenarios, each school requires bespoke analysis and an appropriate ventilation solution matched to the specific room size and volume. Given that each school setting is different, individual schools are best placed to decide how best to use this funding to address their particular needs. Engagement with the market for meeting their needs is managed directly by schools at local level.”