The proposed second level school for Claregalway may be delayed according to Deputy Padraic McCormack who described the Minister for Education’s reply to a Dáil question on the matter as “disappointing” and unclear.
“The Minister in her reply claims that the numbers of post primary pupils required in the general area will only be reached in 2016.
“This, in my opinion, does not take into account the special needs of Claregalway which has been documented to the Minister in the case which has been presented to the Minister by the local committee,” says the Fine Gael TD. In her reply to his question Minister Mary Coughlan says that under the Area Development Plan for South Galway published by the Commission on School Accommodation in 2008 the provision of a post-primary school in the area was recommended by 2016.
He says the committee campaigning for the school are doing great work and expectations have been raised in the area following a meeting with the Minister earlier this summer.
Last May Co Galway VEC said they were asked to be patrons of the new school and this was agreed by the parents committee who hoped the new facility would be in operation by September 2012.
At the Mayo meeting of the VEC Cllr Jarlath McDonagh had proposed that the school should operate in one of the empty commercial units at Claregalway Corporate Park until a new purpose-built facility was erected. The Minister told Deputy McCormack that the figures for secondary school students are set to rise from 312,200 to 328,700 by 2016. She added that dealing with this level of demand will be a major challenge and it is in the context of this national increase that Claregalway is being considered.
“As a result of the Minister’s reply I will not be conveying to the Minister that Claregalway’s claim for a second level school should be examined on its own merits rather than it being considered in a wider catchment area as indicated by her.” added Deputy McCormack.
“The population of Claregalway and surrounding area has greatly increased in recent years and there is an immediate demand for a second level school here. “The provision of this school will eliminate the current position where pupils have to travel to Galway, Athenry, Tuam or Oranmore where numbers are already at maximum capacity,” he added.
He said that in view of the Minister’s reply he is also contacting the second level patronage advisory group advising them to push forward with the excellent case they have for a second level school in the area.
He wants this to be judged on the merits of Claregalway in its own right and not in the context of some national strategy.