Cllr William Lavelle

STUDENTS at Lucan Community College (LCC) have nowhere to eat their lunch and have lost their library due to delays in building a long-awaited extension to the school.
School management and parents of current pupils say they have become extremely frustrated due to the delays in having their planning application processed by the Department of Education and Skills.
The school, which was originally built for 710 pupils, now has close to 900 pupils and has been forced to convert the library into classrooms to accommodate the extra pupils.
The current dining hall is not big enough to cater for the current student numbers, forcing many students to eat their lunch outside in the cold.
With the school over capacity, its management says it cannot guarantee potential students from the primary schools in the area a place, potentially forcing them to travel outside the area to attend a secondary school.
The school’s parents’ association has launched a letter-writing campaign to local TDs and councillors to put pressure on the Department of Education to resolve the issue.
The secretary of the parents’ association, Sandra Coleman, told The Gazette: “We’re asking everybody in the school to send it [the letter] to TDs and councillors to try and get it moved along.”
The chairperson of the school’s board of management, Cllr William Lavelle (FG), is fully behind the campaign and has expressed his frustration with the delays, which he describes as “bureaucracy gone mad”.
He told The Gazette: “The current delays that we are facing are down to delays with the Department of Education.
“The design team submitted all the documentation back at the end of last year and we are now told that we may not get a decision until a review of that documentation for another few weeks, possibly into the month of April. That is bureaucracy gone mad.”
The extension plans include a new library, larger canteen facilities, a full-sized PE hall capable of facilitating two class groups at once, a fitness suite, new computer rooms and a dedicated special needs unit.
These facilities would benefit the entire community and Cllr Lavelle was keen to praise the unity shown on the issue.
He said: “I would like to express my gratitude to all of the parents, as well as my political colleagues across Lucan who have supported our campaign.
“Particularly, thanks to the parents who have been so active in lobbying and I’m hoping that the officials at the Department of Education will take note and speed up the process.”
The Department of Education and Skills says that the detailed nature of the Stage 2A report, on the architectural planning process, was the cause of the delay.
A statement to The Gazette read: “From the date of receipt of any stage 2A report, a review period of between 10 to 12 weeks can be expected.
“A Stage 2A report is a very detailed set of documents which provides the detailed design for the project and effectively ‘fix’ the projected cost plan for the further progression of the project.
“It is expected that this review will be completed by mid-April, and the school authority will then be informed of the outcome of the review.”