Yesterday on the canvass trail, I travelled to Holy Trinity NS which is based in Leopardstown. Holy Trinity is like many schools in our education system – they are without a permanent building.
They invited all candidates in the Dublin South by-election as well as Councillors to visit the school and sign a pledge insisting that, if elected, they will make the school a top priority. As you can see from the photo, I happily signed the dotted line.
The school currently houses 107 pupils and 11 staff but the parish has a population of 31,000 – the equivalent of Co. Leitrim! The Gallops has a young, growing population and it is predicted that in the future, 600 children in the area will need a primary place. And it is not only their education which is being affected.
There is a social and community element to what the school is seeking. A permanent school building would be the hub of the locality – a place to meet, greet and hold community meetings. This is something the local area needs and something that was neglected in the past.
The school is currently spending €124,000 per year on prefab accommodation and this will only increase unless something is done quickly.
Since September 2008, Labour have proposed a School Building Programme that would help those unemployed in the construction sector, let the State receive value for money and house the 40,000 children currently in prefabs.
The parents, teachers and pupils at Holy Trinity represent what is best about our civic culture. They certainly put it up to politicians at their campaign launch yesterday. The solidarity and commitment shown by this community in their quest to secure a school building is really impressive.