Thursday, 14 July 2022
Saincheisteanna Tráthúla (Atógáil) - Topical Issue Debate (Resumed)
Oideachas trí Ghaeilge
Gabhaim buíochas leis na Teachtaí as an gceist seo. I am taking this question on behalf of the Minister, Deputy Foley, who is regrettably unavailable. I send best wishes to Deputy Durkan and Deputy Catherine Murphy and thank the Deputies for working on this issue together. It is admirable.
I will outline to the House the position with regard to the provision of permanent accommodation for Gaelcholáiste Mhaigh Nuad, County Kildare. As the Deputies may be aware, Gaelcholáiste Mhaigh Nuad was established in 2020 as a multi-denominational Irish-medium Gaelcholáiste under the patronage of Kildare and Wicklow Education and Training Board. The school has a current enrolment of 66 pupils for the 2021-22 school year. The school is currently located in interim accommodation in Manor Mills pending delivery of permanent accommodation.
As to the permanent accommodation solution for the school, it is intended that the Gaelcholáiste will be located in the former Maynooth Post Primary School building. Pending delivery of the school's permanent accommodation, the Department recently approved funding to Kildare and Wicklow Education and Training Board, KWETB, to undertake refurbishment works in the former Maynooth Post Primary School property to facilitate access to additional specialist accommodation by Gaelcholáiste Mhaigh Nuad. This accommodation includes science, woodwork and home economics rooms. The delivery of the refurbishment project has been devolved to KWETB. The Department of Education understands that this project is due to be completed within the next two months.
With regard to determining the options available in meeting the Gaelcholáiste's permanent accommodation needs, the Department of Education permitted KWETB to carry out an options study of the former post-primary school building, which is in KWETB'S ownership. In order to ensure that optimal use is made of this property and in support of the achievement of value for money, KWETB appointed a consultant to undertake an options study of the property concerned. KWETB has furnished the options study report to the Department and this is currently being assessed. The Department is examining the proposals put forward in the study and it is its intention to consult KWETB regarding the matter in the near future with a view to finalising a long-term plan for the school. I hope the Deputies will welcome that.