Northern Ireland

Burst pipes and bad weather prompt school closure fears

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Image caption Burst pipes and more icy weather could mean school closures

The water crisis and the prospect of a second bout of icy weather have prompted fears that schools across Northern Ireland may not open as scheduled next week.

Education Minster Caitriona Ruane said school buildings had been damaged.

"Problems include lack of mains water supply, burst pipes, broken toilets and damaged ceilings," she said.

She said her department was working to ensure schools could open as soon as possible.

"My officials have been in contact with the schools' managing authorities to ensure all affected schools are operational as soon as possible," she said.

"As we are expecting colder weather to return it is important that schools take adequate precautions to protect their buildings from further damage."

The Department of Education will be advised by NI Water on Sunday 2 January about where interruptions to mains water supply may impact on schools.

On Monday 3 January, Education and Library Boards will tell the department which schools will not open as scheduled.

The boards will communicate directly with the vast majority of schools.

However, schools in the voluntary grammar and grant maintained integrated sectors who have a direct link with Deni in relation to capital and maintenance issues are asked to telephone: 028 9127 9480, 028 9127 9481 and 028 9127 9473 on Monday between 0900 GMT and 1200 GMT.

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