Parents angry over state of St Martin’s after promised £800,000 face-lift
Villagers claim council is treating them as second-class citizens.
By Bill Heaney
The parents, pupils and staff of doomed St Martin’s Primary School in Renton are raging that repair work which was supposed to be carried out over the holidays has turned out to be a dog’s dinner.
West Dunbartonshire Council’s arch critic on the way Renton has been treated by the education authority – and the Catholic Church in Glasgow, hit out: “I know things are tight but I thought £800,000 would buy more for St Martin’s than tiles torn up in the floor; a paint job that looks like they’ve given an elephant a paint brush, and broken light bulbs”
Drew MacEoghainn, who was a prominent member of the campaign group which failed to save St Martin’s from closure, has also published photographs of the shoddy work done in the school kitchen.
He wrote: “The SNP promised us £800,000. Our kids are being educated in a building with water under the floor beside electric cables; windows that are boarded up, tiles torn up and not replaced, and cupboard drawers which staff had to prise open due to them being painted shut!”
He alleged: “They are even putting blinds up onto aluminium framed windows and, as everyone knows, these windows lead to condensation and damp.”
Drew, whose own children attend St Martin’s, accused the SNP administration on the council of being untruthful when they gave assurances that work would be done to keep the school wind, watertight and habitable until such times as a final decision on its future was made.
He excoriated the council and the councillors: “SNP we know you are liars, but we are not second class citizens.
“We demand the £800,000 you promised and won’t accept our children being educated in a dangerous hovel.”
Members and supporters of the campaign committee to save St Martin’s Primary School in Renton. Picture by Bill Heaney
He claims the locally-elected SNP councillors for Renton have let the whole village down – “Jim Bollan (Community Party) and John Millar (Labour) are the only two councillors in our ward with any integrity.”
He asked them to assist the parents to obtain a full inventory of the work that was promised and the work that had been done or was still being done.
He described the work which had been carried out as “an abomination”.
A number of other parents and supporters of the Save Our School campaign weighed in with further criticism of the council.
Lynn Buckley McFettridge claimed there was not one double glazed window in the building and that St Martin’s was the ONLY school in West Dunbartonshire not to have a combi oven in the kitchen – even though the school cooks cater for nurseries in the area.
In fact, St Martin’s kitchen supplies two primary and two nursery schools with snacks and lunches.
She said: “I am absolutely sickened that we are being treated as second class citizens by the local authority whose job it is to serve us”
Lizann Thom described the work as “shocking”.
She said: “Six weeks to sort things and that’s the crap we have been left with.”
Councillor Jim Bollan has promised the campaign group that he will be asking the education department for details of what the £800,000 will be spent on and when it will be spent.
The trade unions have been contacted and will now be investigating the matter of whether their members are being asked to work in conditions not fit for purpose.
Ann Carr said the whole situation is an “absolute disgrace and they should hang their heads in shame.
“It will be very interesting to see what excuses they have.”
Union official Valerie Jennings said: “This is disgusting they could be breaching health and safety legislation please pass these numbers to staff 07803455433 or leave a message on 01389734246 if they want to join a union.”
Damien Kane said: “That’s a disgrace. They are clearly using gas in that kitchen and a basic wall fan is not compliant with current regulations. They should have a canopy over the cooking range with proper ventilation.”
How will the council respond? Are all these claims accurate and valid? Since the council have banned The Democrat from using their media services, we cannot enlighten our readers unless they lift the ban.