Students from St Joseph’s secondary school in Rush gathered outside Dail Eireann on Wednesday to protest at the lack of school places in the area.
Anger is mounting over the lack of spaces in Skerries, Rusk and Lusk – with a serious crisis being predicted next September if urgent action is not taken.
Parents who were told there are already 102 on the waiting list for secondary school places in Rush next year have started a petition which has almost 1,000 signatures.
The problem is just as serious in Skerries and Lusk and representatives warn that if capacity is not increased students may face lengthy commutes to and from school.
Cllr Tom O’Leary (FG) told Dublin Gazette: “I am getting increased numbers of concerned messages from parents in Skerries who cannot get a place in their local secondary school.
“A number of new families have moved into the area where building continues and the population is growing steadily. This is a new phenomenon and parents are in shock that they potentially cannot get access to their local secondary school.”
In the Seanad last week Senator James Reilly called on the Department of Education to address issues in all three towns, warning that even with phase two of Lusk Community College now open it could not cope with numbers.
One concerned parent in Rush said: “The situation already looks grim for more than 100 families and since Rush and Lusk are rapidly expanding, it can only get worse.
“Commuting is not a solution.”
Local Green Party representative Joe O’Brien has written to Education Minister Joe McHugh calling for an assessment of needs for another secondary school in Skerries.
The move followed revelations that 30 pupils were not allocated places at Skerries Community College for 2019.
He said: “A lot of parents are very concerned that their children may well not be able to carry out their post-primary education in their home town.
“The school should have received a prefab last summer but this was pulled on the basis that three permanent classrooms would be built. But there has been no action on building these classrooms and it’s not clear where they would fit.
“The school was built for 800 and to be fair the Community College is doing all it can to accommodate what is now a school population of 947. It’s literally bursting at the seams.”