News of dozens of new school plans met with ‘bitter disappointment’

by Dublin Gazette
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Senator Catherine Ardagh said news that there would be no new schools for Dublin 8 and Dublin 12 is “bitterly disappointing”

The Minister for Education has announced that more than 40 new schools will be established in the next four years, with the announcement meeting with mixed reactions.

Under the new plans, five primary schools are planned for the city – at Dublin 6, Drumcondra/Marino, Swords and Dublin 2, with exact locations to be determined.

There will also be four secondary schools opening across the city – in Dublin 6, Dublin 2, Drumcondra and Donaghmede.

It is believed the schools will operate out of temporary premises and will need to find a suitable site for a more permanent building before going through the planning process.

Under Minister Richard Bruton’s plans, the schools will open between 2019 and 2022. There will be a separate process whereby the patrons of each schools will be decided.

Parents of pre-school children will be involved in the decision process and will be asked for their preference in who the patrons of the schools should be.

However, Senator Catherine Ardagh has criticised the announcement, saying that Dublin 8 and Dublin 12 have been excluded in a move that is “bitterly disappointing”, mentioning that two local schools in the area have campaigned for years for improvements and have been left out of future plans.

She said: “Our Lady of the Wayside National School in Bluebell has been providing an education in very poor, substandard accommodation for decades and has been long campaigning for a much-needed improvements.

“This has not just been stressful for the excellent staff and management at the school, but also to the pupils.

“The Canal Way Educate Together School in Basin Lane, D8 were recently provided with short-term accommodation to cope with the number of children they’ve taken in due to high demand in the area, but it’s incredibly disheartening that they will not be receiving permanent premises under this plan.

“These are just two examples of the schools in our area that are in need of urgent upgrade and repair.

“The suburbs of Dublin, particularly communities in the inner city, might be easy to leave behind in every other regard but school accommodation is a deficit that needs attention.”

Minister Bruton has also been criticised for the plan in terms of finance, with questions being raised about where financing for the new school builds will come from. Fianna Fail’s Thomas Byrne said he was concerned that there wasn’t money for the new builds.

However, Minister Bruton said that money has been allotted for the new schools in the National Development Plan.

There have been 340 school projects built across Ireland since 2011, including refurbishments to schools. It has also been confirmed that all pending refurbishment projects will be continued to completion.

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