Staff and students at St Joseph’s in Rush are celebrating news that the Department of Education is actively looking for a site to build a new school.

Minister Joe McHugh confirmed on Tuesday that Fingal County Council had been asked to assist in purchasing land for the long-promised new building.

Last October the school was forced to write to the parents of more than 100 children advising there would be no place for them in September 2019 after 224 applications were lodged for 120 school spaces.

Staff, students and parents staged a protest locally and later demonstrated outside Dail Eireann. The Department of Education later agreed to provide four temporary prefabs to accommodate incoming first years.

But Senator James Reilly (FG), who will meet with Education Minister Joe McHugh along with a delegation of parents and teachers this Thursday, said he would lobby hard for the new school building.

He said: “I’m looking forward to a positive meeting with the minister. This is a long time coming and I’m thrilled to see this breakthrough development happening.

“It’s great for the school and great for the town. The students and the board of management have been great and should be thanked for their patience.”

St Joseph’s Secondary School principal Patricia Hayden said the only long-term solution to the school’s accommodation needs was a new permanent building.

The surge in population in north Fingal has put pressure on school places in the seaside town of Rush as well as neighbouring communities in Skerries and Lusk.