Local TD, Darragh O’Brien (FF) has said that the already over-subscribed secondary schools in the North County will now experience further pressure in the forthcoming school year. This is due, in the main, to the development of two schools in the county having been pushed back another 15 months.
In information received by O’Brien through a tabled Parliamentary Question, the Minister for Education has confirmed that both schools, which were scheduled to open this September in Malahide / Portmarnock and Swords will now not open until September 2018.
He said, “The provision of a new secondary school for the Malahide / Portmarnock and Swords areas of County Dublin were originally announced in November 2015. Since then I have continually raised the urgent necessity for the provision of these secondary school places in the North County.”
“These schools have now been deferred and will not open as scheduled in September 2017. The Minister has confirmed to me that they will more likely open a full 12 months behind schedule.
“This is the fastest-growing area in the country and the number of people living in the area has increased by eight per cent in the past five years. This rise in population has exacerbated the chronic shortage of school places in the North County.”
He added,” It can only be expected that the current lack of sufficient capacity in our schools will continue to worsen. High birth rates in recent years will no doubt place significant pressure on pupil enrolments in both primary and secondary schools unless decisive action is taken by the Department.
“Local parents are becoming increasingly anxious about whether there will be a place for their children come September; this update of a delay in development will add more worry,” concluded O’Brien.
The reply from the Minister stated, “The Patron of the new Swords post-primary school, DDLETB has decided for operational reasons that it is in the best interests of the school to defer its opening to September 2018.”
“The Patron has confirmed to the Department that Swords Community College will open in September 2018, with a high number of applications having already been received.”
The acquisition of school sites in densely populated areas such as Swords presents an ongoing challenge for my Department, which will continue to work in close co-operation with Fingal County Council and the site acquisition process is underway in respect of the permanent accommodation for this school.”