St Finian’s secondary school in Swords ‘not fit for purpose’

by Sylvia Pownall

Urgent action is once again being demanded for St Finian’s secondary school in Swords, which staff and students say is no longer fit for purpose.

Deputy Darragh O’Brien has called on Education Minister Joe McHugh to prioritise the long-awaited refurbishment and extension of St Finian’s Community College.

The Fianna Fail TD said: “This is something which the Government have been dragging their feet on for years.

“There have been indeterminable delays and unexplained hold-ups, but little or no action. The parents, teachers and students have all been let down very badly.”

A protest was held earlier this year and in February the issue was raised in the Seanad by James Reilly and in the Dail by Clare Daly.

The school body issued a cry for help with a Facebook post stating: “Our school has been in Swords for more than 60 years and we have been there with our community through the good times and the bad.

“Our building is no longer fit for purpose and it is not acceptable that our extension has been delayed once again. Our students deserve better.”

Photographs accompanying the post showed the level of dilapidation with extensive mould, a partially collapsed roof, and vegetation growing inside classrooms.

Deputy O’Brien said: “I can’t stress enough the need to get the refurbishment and extension works under way.

“From speaking with parents, teachers and even students I know there are major issues, from a leaking roof to a lack of space and much more besides.”

The school’s board of management first outlined concerns in 2010 complaining of leaking ceilings, lack of adequate heating and other potential health risks.

An extension was sanctioned and the scheme was granted planning permission in 2015 – but it was shelved without explanation just as construction was due to start.

Deputy O’Brien said: “Despite the minister’s comments to the contrary, we know there are issues with the department’s budget.

“The minister needs to clarify whether construction and upgrading works on schools will be put on hold or not progressed while the department sorts out its finances.”

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