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Work on gaelscoil to begin next year

Work on gaelscoil to begin next year

The controversial building of a new school on playing fields on Cork’s northside is to go ahead as part of next year’s €370m schools capital programme.

Gaelscoil an Ghoirt Álainn is one of 50 new buildings or extensions which Education Minister Ruairi Quinn announced will go to construction in 2013. Most have already been flagged to go ahead next year as part of a five-year school building programme announced in March.

But the location of the school on part of the 11-acre Tank Field in Mayfield was the subject of potential obstacles at the time, after An Bord Pleanála had overturned an earlier refusal of permission in a vote of Cork City Council members.

Some local residents took a court challenge in September against what they said would be the loss of a right of way through the playing fields because of the project, and subsequent arrangements between the council and the local GAA club which uses the field.

However, Cork Circuit Court rejected their case in October and Mr Quinn has confirmed work on the 16-classroom school should begin next year.

The news brought joy to pupils, parents, and staff of the school, which has operated from prefabs on the grounds of Brian Dillons GAA Club next to the Tank Field for most of its life.

“Gaelscoil an Ghoirt Álainn has been in operation for almost 20 years now and finally we can begin to imagine life in a proper school building with proper facilities for our children,” said principal Deaglán Ó Deargáin and board chair Colm Henry.

“We look forward to progressing with the development of a new school suitable for the education of our children and one which will benefit the whole community.”

Six projects have been brought forward to begin work next year, including an extension to Newpark Comprehensive in Blackrock, Co Dublin, on which construction was not scheduled to begin until at least 2015 according to last March’s list.

A spokesperson for the Department of Education said some projects may have progressed if they got through planning faster than anticipated, or if projected student numbers in an area have increased significantly.

The projects include schools being established in the next few years to cater for rising urban populations. Mr Quinn said almost 21,000 of the 25,000 student places to be provided are in extensions or new schools, with the remainder replacing temporary or unsuitable accommodation.

The Irish National Teachers’ Organisation said meeting the needs of a rising young population is welcome, but the Government had failed in its responsibility to ensure existing schools are maintained by the withdrawal of grants for minor works.

General secretary Sheila Nunan said the department should ringfence 7.5% of all future capital funding for maintenance of existing school buildings.

Another 53 major school projects were occupied or completed this year and the larger projects listed yesterday will account for €240m of the €370m capital investment in schools.
Foilsithe ar 11 Nollaig 2012 / Foilsithe ar 11 Nollaig 2012

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