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Friday, 19th November 2021

Permanent building for DETSS must be brought forward – Nash

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An aerial view of the Educate Together Secondary School at Colpe surrounded by acres of land offering it great potential for expansion.

Local TD Ged Nash has repeated his call for the provision of a permanent school building for the Drogheda Educate Together Secondary School to be brought forward.

He says he is once again hearing from parents and children in East Meath and Drogheda who are heartbroken because they cannot be accommodated in their school of choice. 

“The school would of course love to accommodate everyone or at the very least the majority of those who have applied for a place. But they simply can’t as the department has limited their first-year places for 2022-2023 to a number well below the level of applications received.

“Given the demand for places I am again urging the Minister for Education to instruct her officials to bring forward the building of the new school.

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“A Parliamentary Question reply to me this week shows that the planning application for additional interim accommodation for the Mill Road site is ‘currently being finalised and it is anticipated that a planning application will be submitted (to Meath County Council) before the end of this month (November).’

“The reply from Minister Foley goes on to make reference to the school plan having to be ‘cognisant of the overall Shannon Homes Masterplan for the area’ and that the plan ‘has been received by the Department.’

“It makes me distinctly uncomfortable that the Department of Education, who have the responsibility for providing school buildings and places in an area that is already poorly served by public, social investment would describe a project of this nature as being somehow beholden to or dependent on plans from a property development company.”

Deputy Nash continued;

“The reply from Minister Foley suggests that there has been a strong level of engagement between Meath County Council and her Department and I have always gotten the sense from the Council that they see the DETSS project as a priority.

“With planning soon to go in for the new interim buildings, the Department has said that ‘work on preparing for the planning application for the permanent accommodation will be progressed in parallel with the local authority’s processing of the interim application.’

“This in itself is a positive development but we need the Minister to act to expedite the permanent school on an urgent basis.

“This makes social, educational and financial sense. The Department cannot stand over the spending of millions of euros more on portakabin-type buildings when it makes sounder financial sense to build the permanent school sooner than they initially intended.”

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