Supporting Opinion

Staying silent or lashing out when you’re on the RAAC

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

he UK’s Education Minister is experiencing a week to forget on many fronts – primarily because half the schools in Britain appear to be in danger of collapsing after they were built with a form of Morla, but also because she inexplicably let fly with some salty language at the end of a feisty interview on ITV.

And yet when I say inexplicably, that’s not true – the real mystery here is why this doesn’t happen all the time. Most politicians must have mouth ulcers from so regularly having to bite their tongue.

For those that missed it, Gillian Keegan was being held to account for the fact that somewhere north of 150 schools were forced to close all or part of their buildings just before the resumption of the new academic year after they were built with what might be described as crumbling concrete.

They were constructed back in the sixties with something called reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete – or what’s more commonly referred to as RAAC. And this gave them a limited lifespan, which has seen those chickens come home to roost in droves around now.

Gillian Keegan wasn’t even born when these schools were built because she didn’t get here until the end of the sixties, and while she quite possibly sat in classrooms unwittingly surrounded by RAAC, she was long gone when they started to all fall down.

But the scandal broke on her watch and that’s enough to hold her responsible, even though it’s since been learned that various Governments knew it was on its way before Gillian ever moved into the Department of Education.

So after she was grilled for a while on what she didn’t do and what she planned to do, thinking the camera had stopped rolling, she let fly with a few unparliamentary phrases as her frustration boiled over.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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