Posted by Declan Tierney, Connacht Tribune in News.

A total of seven sites have been offered to the Department of Education to provide a new secondary school in Claregalway—the sites will be examined by officials over the next twelve months.

But hopes for the enrolment of first year students at the school next September have been dashed by the Department who say that it is unlikely that a new school would be possible before 2016.

However, there has been some progress in the matter with the confirmation by the Department that the seven sites offered by landowners in the Claregalway area would be examined over the coming year and the most suitable and cost effective tie will then be chosen.

Local TD Noel Grealish explained that the Department had sought expressions of interest from local people and there was a good response with seven landowners offering sites for the school.

“It would be great to see a new school in Claregalway given the student population that there is within even a five mile radius of the village.

“I will be in constant contact with Department officials to ensure that the examination process is conducted as quickly as possible.” Deputy Grealish added.

Those campaigning for a new secondary school in Claregalway had hoped that enrolement of first years would commence this coming September to begin the process.

It was even suggested that a temporary school could be established in one of the empty units in the Claregalway Corporate Park but this was emphatically rejected by the Department of Education.

The Department said that they would not allow temporary accommodation but would seek expression of interest from the public in providing a greenfield site suitable for a brand new school.

At the moment there are more than 100 children from the Claregalway catchment are who would enrol in a secondary school if there was one in the village.

The proposed school, which would be under the patronage of the VEC, would cater for the around 600 students.

Several hundred parents have endorsed the proposal for a secondary school in Claregalway and they have given a commitment that some 856 students will attend the facility over the next eight years.

But they are somewhat disappointed over the fact that enrolement will not now take place this September so that all of the classes could be filled by 2016.

Students from the Claregalway area currently attend schools in Galway city, Oranmore, Athenry, Headford and Tuam. The population of the area has increased significantly in recent years to justify the provision of a secondary school.

A Department of Education source ruled out the possibility of a school being provided in Claregalway before 2016.