Twenty-two schools, built by Western Building Systems, are to undergo special inspections by engineers later today in advance of Storm Lorenzo.

The schools have protective structures such as scaffolding and fencing in place after serious structural defects were discovered in their walls over the summer.

They include the latest batch of WBS constructed schools where defects were discovered.

A spokesperson for the Department of Education said the inspections would include an examination of scaffolding and fencing structures as well as anything else that a school might have concerns about. 

In an email sent yesterday evening the Department informed school principals that both a pre- and post-storm inspection would be carried out at their school.

The email said that given uncertainty about the impact of the storm, and "in line with our inspection protocol following severe weather events for schools that have precautionary measures in place" it had decided to carry out the inspections.

The "pre-weather" inspections will be carried out today. The department has told schools that the timing of the post-storm inspections will depend upon when and if the storm makes landfall here.

A department spokesperson confirmed that the letter had been sent to all schools that currently have precautionary protective measures in place.

Several of the schools in question have had protective fencing placed around their outer walls, as well as precautionary scaffolding 'tunnels’ erected at entrances to protect pupils and teachers while entering the building.

One school building, at Ardgillan Community College in Dublin's Balbriggan, has been permanently closed since defects were discovered in its fabric last year.

A spokesperson for WBS said it "disputes any suggestion of widespread defects at the schools we constructed.

"No proven evidence has been presented to verify such claims. We are unaware of any reports of previous storms adversely impacting any of these school."