Dáil debates

Thursday, 23 June 2022

Saincheisteanna Tráthúla - Topical Issue Debate

School Accommodation

4:25 pm

Photo of Marc Ó CathasaighMarc Ó Cathasaigh (Waterford, Green Party) | Oireachtas source

There is more information in the answer the Minister of State has given me than was made available to the school, so I thank him for that because the school has been kept in the dark on this. Something I find frustrating about this whole process is that one of the first things I asked for when the Government was formed was for the forward planning unit in the Department of Education to do a desktop survey on Tramore and to assess the school needs there and the school lands that were at that time available for sale but that have now been lost to private ownership, which complicates the entire situation.

To speak to the specifics, the classrooms in the 50 p piece building, which I know extremely well as I have taught in it, are 50 sq. m. I have taught a class of 30 fifth class kids in the building and there was not room to swing a cat - not that one should swing cats in primary school classrooms. Modern standards now call for classrooms of 80 sq. m, so these classrooms are too small. They are also a peculiar shape. The building is in the shape of a 50 p piece. The rooms are oblong. That makes for unusable corners. That might seem like a small thing, but when you are trying to fit furniture and children into a room it makes a big difference. There are only seven classrooms. We are talking about a school which will soon have eight class groups and a requirement for special educational needs, SEN, provision and which has an AS unit in it. As for land acquired on the old CBS site, there are now three owners of the site. There is the Department of Education and the diocese, and the site is also partially owned privately. It should have been acquired by the State and we would have had a more consolidated landholding. The only details I can find on plans for the additional accommodation is a red rectangle marking where it could putatively be. Now I have to go back to a principal and tell her that, sometime in the never-never, her school may sit on the one campus. I am not sure that that is a reply I want to give to a principal who has been working so hard to make this school thrive within my town's community.


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