Donnelly seeks study for new secondary school
MINISTER URGED TO CARRY OUT CAPACITY STUDY FOR GREYSTONES
A NORTH Wicklow TD has called on the Minister for Education to examine the possibility of another secondary school for Greystones as a matter of urgency.
Deputy Stephen Donnelly wants Minister Richard Bruton to conduct a capacity study, which would take into account the growing population of the town.
Referring to the campaign for Greystones Community National School, which has only been granted planning permission in recent weeks, Deputy Donnelly said the turning point was a meeting with Department of Education n officials where the department’s growth h projections were challenged.
‘Greystones has a rapidly growing population, which wasn’t being factored into projections,’ he said. ‘Once this was changed, the numbers made the case for the new Charlesland school.’
With the new primary school secured, the Greystones Deputy is now turning his attention to ensuring there are enough spaces available locally when children move onto secondary level. While the town is already served by St David’s aand Temple CCarrig, quite a number oof students aare leaving GreystonesGreysto every day to attend school.
‘Every year I speak with parents worried about secondary school places. The town is blessed with two fantastic secondary schools. However, every day many, many students leave the town for school, which is not as it should be. And the number of students is growing fast,’ he said.
‘So it’s time to see what the Department thinks: do the numbers stack up? If so, we need to start thinking about a new school now. In my previous experience campaigning for Greystones Community National School, the process is a long and drawn out and may take a number of years.’
‘I’ve asked the Minister for Education to conduct a full demographic analysis of future need in the area with a view to ensuring that there is space long term for these children,’ said the TD.
Meanwhile, Deputy Donnelly is also demanding the Minister for Education carry out an investigation into fire safety breaches at Gaelscoil na gCloch Liath. The department revealed last week that the Greystones school was one of five national schools in the country which failed to comply with fire safety standards.
School Principal Rita Ní Thuathail told this newspaper that the school had lobbied the department to get access to the report for two years and its contents had come as a shock. The main issue was the lack of illuminated emergency lighting while an upgrade of the floor structure to meet a 60-minute fire resistance standard was also required. The school has been given a schedule of works, which are due to being in eight to 12 weeks time.’
While Deputy Donnelly commended the school on its response, he said that ‘ they, their staff and their students should never have been put in this position.’
‘When were these fire breaches found? Why were they not identified before the school was opened? Could any other Wicklow schools, teachers and students be at risk? We need a full investigation into these and many other questions.’
Deputy Donnelly has called on the Minister to conduct a full review of all schools impacted, particularly those schools still under construction.
‘Even if these breaches are technical in nature, it is deeply worrying that they could have remained for so long without either identification or rectification. Parents expect and deserve to know that the standards put in place to keep their children safe are being adhered to,’ said Deputy Donnelly.
DeputyDe Stephen Donnelly (left) also wants a full review intoin fire safety breaches at Gaelscoil na gCloch Liath.