Ó Domhnaill tackles Government on abandonment of Donegal School Projects

Donegal Senator Brian Ó Domhnaill has questioned the Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn about his decision to abandon two important local school projects for the next five years. Speaking in Seanad Éireann this week (Wednesday, 26 April), Senator Ó Domhnaill appealed to the Minister to reconsider including Scoil Náisiúnta Gort a Choirce and St Mary’s National School Stranorlar on the Department’s 5 Year school building programme.

Senator Ó Domhnaill said, “It is totally unacceptable that both of these schools have suddenly been struck off the list for building works for the next 5 years. Both projects have been progressing well with the Scoil Náisiuntá Gort a Choirce at planning stage and St Mary’s National School Stranorlar at architectural planning and awaiting consideration from Donegal County Council. Now these schools have been told that there is no hope of any progress for at least the next 5 years because the Government has chosen to prioritise other projects.

“This makes absolutely no sense given the fact that the previous Government had aleady given these projects the go ahead and they have been progressing well. I have strongly urged Minister Quinn to reconsider and include Scoil Náisiúnta Gort a Choirce and St Mary’s National School Stranorlar in his 5 year school building programme,” said Senator Ó Domhnaill.

Responding on behalf of the Education Minister, Minister Jimmy Deenihan refused to give any commitment to these projects. He cited the need to ‘prioritise’ in relation to ‘demographic needs.’ He also claimed the Department of Education is in touch with both Scoil Náisiúnta Gort a Choirce and St Mary’s National School Stranorlar in relation to their projects.

“In the case of Scoil Naisunta Gort a Choirce, the brief for the project is to provide a new school building. Whilst preliminary work to acquire a greenfield site was undertaken, planning permission has been refused in respect of this proposed site.

The Department is in the process of acquiring a site for St Mary’s National School, Stranorlar. Acquisition of the site is dependent on a grant of planning permission, an application for which has been submitted to the Local Authority. However the context of the need to prioritise available funding for the provision of additional school accommodation, it is not possible to given an indicative timeframe for the progression to construction of these school projects at this time.”

In response, Senator Ó Domhnaill commented, “If the Government is truly commited to these two Donegal school projects, they would not have been omitted form the 5 year plan. The fact that the Minister can give no commitment whatsoever to a broad time-frame for these schools confirms to me that no progress is expected until at least 2017.”

Posted: Apr 26, 2012     |     Categories: Uncategorized