A new secondary school may be in sight for Claregalway following what was described a “very positive meeting” with Minister for Education Mary Coughlan last evening (Tuesday).
Sean Duffy, Education Officer with Co Galway VEC, who was on the delegation, said they asked the Minister to give the go-ahead for the new school.
“She replied that she would come back with a formalised position which would bring clarity to the situation. She added that she would come back with her reply very quickly,” says Sean Duffy.
He added that the group, consisting of members of a parents’ committee anxious to set up the school, local politicians and other interested parties met with the Minister for approximately half an hour last evening.
“Those on the delegation thought it was a very positive meeting and we are hopeful of a favourable decision,” he added.
At the monthly meeting of Co Galway VEC in Athenry on Monday CEO Joe McDonagh said the VEC was delighted to be asked by the founding parents’ committee to be patron of the new school.
This request was made since VEC officials and members attended a public meeting in Claregalway in May regarding the proposed school.
“The VEC is pleased to be asked by the committee to become patron of the new school and we are encouraged by the passion and huge commitment of all those involved in the project,” said the CEO.
“The committee are pushing ahead for an opening date of September 2011 and even though that may sound ambitious letters have already gone to the Department of Education stating that the VEC has been approached to be the patron,” he added.
He said the VEC was honoured that Education Officer Sean Duffy was also asked to be on the delegation that met Minister Mary Coughlan about the school.
Cllr Jarlath McDonagh told Monday’s meeting that he first mooted the idea of a second level school for Claregalway back in 2006.
“It is an ideal location as Claregalway is a growing area. With the secondary school in Oranmore full to capacity, and similar situations in Athenry, finding secondary school places for teenagers is a problem for families in Claregalway. It is difficult for parents to get their children to and from schools in Galway city and it is great the VEC has been requested to be the patron of this new community college,” he said.
Cllr McDonagh suggested that the new school could be located in empty industrial units which are currently vacant in Claregalway Corporate Park.
He said if those empty buildings were converted for use as a school the new facility could be in operation as soon as September 2011. It could transfer to a more permanent school building at a later date.
Oranmore’s Cllr Liam Carroll told Monday’s meeting that he was glad the VEC “had taken the bull by the horns” by becoming the patron of the new school.
Chairman of Co Galway VEC Pat Gilmore said everybody in the VEC is excited about it being requested by the parents to become the patron of another new school.
“Co Galway VEC’s success with Coláiste an Eachreidh in Athenry over the past few years proves that we are ideally suited to be patrons of another new second level school,” he said.
It had been pointed out at a previous meeting of the VEC that people from Claregalway are experiencing major problems trying to get children to and from schools in the city at peak traffic times.
In some instances students were not getting back to their homes in Claregalway until 7 or 8 pm in the evenings by bus or car.