Schools Ahoy!

With plenty of ‘doom and gloom’ news sweeping the nation in recent weeks locals could finally enjoy some good news for the North County last week. Minister for Education, Batt O’Keeffe, last week announced 43 major school building projects that will go to tender and construction this year. The plans are set to create more than 19,600 places countrywide through the provision of new schools, extensions to existing schools and school refurbishments.

The announcement comes as good news to parents all over the North County where, in recent years, schools have been hit hard with overcrowding and temporary buildings. Particularly welcome was the confirmation that the North County area will benefit from five of these projects, which may help provide school places and facilities for the region’s growing population. The projects planned for the area involve; a 16 classroom new school for Gaelscoil An Duinninigh in Kinsealy, a permanent building for Donabate Community College, a permanent extension for Loreto Secondary School Balbriggan, a 16 classroom new school for Balbriggan Educate Together and the first phase of a permanent school building for Ardgillan Community College which will cater for 350 pupils. Each of these schools will be contacted by officials from the Department of Education in the coming weeks, advising them of the next steps they should take.

Welcoming the news local TD Darragh O’Brien said “I am delighted that Dublin North has benefited from five major school projects which have been announced by Minister Batt O’Keeffe. This confirms mine and the Government’s commitment to continue with significant investments in our schools programme.”

The announcement also included details of 25 high-priority major school building projects that are now to start architectural planning. Six of these are North County projects and feature plans for; an extension/ refurbishment to Scoil Caitríona NS, Rush; an extension/ refurbishment for Rush NS; a new 32 room school for Scoil Náisiúnta Lusca, Lusk; a new 16-classroom school for Gaelscoil Bhriain Boroimhe NS, a new 16-classroom school and special needs unit for Swords Educate Together in Applewood and a new 16 classroom school for Donabate Educate Together. It is hoped that plans for these schools might then be ready for tender and construction by next year. Commenting on the announcement Michael Kennedy TD said “The announcement marks a great day on the schooling front. We have been fighting long and hard for permanent buildings and extensions for many of our local schools so this progress is fantastic news. It is essential that we have the best of school facilities available to locals because education holds the key for our successful future.”

Schools, parents and students all over the region will be celebrating this news and can look forward to seeing construction begin on the five projects this year. On welcoming the news Deputy O’Brien particularly welcomed the investment proposed for Scoil An Duinninigh in Kinsealy. “For 20 years now this school has resided in prefabs” explained O’Brien. “On my election to the Dail I gave a commitment that I would ensure a permanent school building for this school so I am absolutely delighted that the Minister has given the go-ahead for the new permanent school. I want to commend An Priomhoide, Brid Nic Gearailt and An Coiste Thuismitheoiri (Parents Committee) for all their hard work in securing this progress.”

Making the announcement Minister O’Keeffe highlighted that this year a record E656 million will be invested in the school building programme. “All five projects represent millions of euro of investment in our area which will further enhance the educational facilities for the people of the North County. Not only that but they will provide additional employment in the construction of these schools, which is much needed in these difficult times. I am absolutely delighted that we have been successful in

securing this major investment” concluded Deputy O’Brien.