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St Patrick's Primary School, Newtownstewart

EA Response to Asbestos Query

25th Aug 2022

The Education Authority (EA) received an Environmental Information Regulations request from a media outlet seeking a breakdown of all records held by EA on properties with registered cases of asbestos, regardless of maintenance or management responsibility. As a result, schools were issued with the following letter to issue to parents.

To the best of my knowldege, all asbestos has been removed from St Patrick's PS and there is minimal risk to pupils or staff.

P. Torney


Dear Parent/Guardian,

I am writing to inform you that St Patrick’s PS may be named in upcoming media coverage about the presence of asbestos in schools in Northern Ireland. 

I appreciate the emotive nature of this subject matter but I wish to assure you that the health and wellbeing of our pupils, staff and the wider school community is our highest priority. There are very strict processes in place for asbestos management and we work in partnership with a dedicated team of environmental specialists to ensure that all identified Asbestos containing materials (ACMs) are managed in accordance with legislation and guidance.

I have included some additional information below which may be helpful in relation to understanding the presence of asbestos in properties and the approach used for the management of asbestos.

Please do not hesitate to contact me further should you have any further queries or concerns.

Asbestos – Background Information

Asbestos was a widely used product in the construction and refurbishment of buildings until its eventual ban in the late 1990s.

Asbestos can be found in any building built before the year 2000, including, for example, houses, factories, offices, schools or hospitals (as per the HSE NI website).

Relevant Legislation and Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Guidance:

The Control of Asbestos Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012 set out the statutory requirements for the maintenance and management of non-domestic premises with asbestos present in them.

It is not a statutory requirement or recommendation from HSE NI that asbestos materials are removed from properties once identified.  In fact it is often the case that it is safer to leave asbestos in place than to remove it.  Current HSE Guidance advises:

“There are numerous remedial options available and in most cases Asbestos-Containing Materials (ACMs) can be protected or enclosed, sealed, encapsulated, or repaired.  These options should always be considered first however where these remedial actions are not practical, ACMs should be safely removed under controlled conditions”.

EA’s Asbestos Management Plan

EA invests over £1 million annually on the identification, management, remediation or removal of asbestos.

Asbestos registers are located at all EA properties in which ACMs have been identified.  These documents confirm the location of asbestos materials so that appropriate actions can be undertaken to avoid disturbance and potential exposures.

Asbestos materials are managed in accordance with EA’s Asbestos Management Plan (AMP) until such times as asbestos removal is considered appropriate or required.

More advice on Asbestos is available from The Health and Safety Executive Northern Ireland (HSENI) website at;