Senator Alex White has expressed his frustration and disappointment with the lack of progress of extension plans for St Colmcille’s Junior School and Senior School in Knocklyon.
Senator White was speaking in the Seanad yesterday where he highlighted the situation the staff and pupils now find themselves in.
“The difficulty is that the schools wish to apply for planning permission but so far the Minister has not seen fit to permit the school to proceed with this application,” Senator White told the Seanad. “The schools have slightly fewer than 500 pupils in prefabricated accommodation with a total of 16 prefab classrooms and 14 prefab resource teacher rooms. Most of these prefabs were installed 20 to 25 years ago.
“It is vital that this project proceeds,” he explained. The School is awaiting permission to apply for planning permission since last November.
In response, Minister of State Máire Hoctor told Senator White that the school has “a significant amount of accommodation but still has a shortfall” and failed to set a date to allow the school to apply for planning permission.
Minister of State Hoctor cited the current economic situation of the country for the slow progress. She told the Seanad that “further announcements will be made as the budgetary position allows. This school project will be considered in that context.”
Senator Alex White said that describing the school’s accommodation problems as a ‘shortfall’ was “the greatest understatement I have heard for a long time” and was quick to point out to the Minister of State that allowing the school to apply for planning permission would not cost the Government a cent.
“I do not understand why, in circumstances where costs are not entailed, the Minister could not see her way to giving the green light to the schools. The momentum exists in the schools and in the local community which provides fantastic support for the schools,” he said.
More :: Read the full transcript of the debate here.