Dáil debates

Thursday, 14 July 2022

Saincheisteanna Tráthúla (Atógáil) - Topical Issue Debate (Resumed)

Oideachas trí Ghaeilge

5:45 pm

Photo of James LawlessJames Lawless (Kildare North, Fianna Fail) | Oireachtas source

I thank the Minister of State for the update. As has been said, the refurbishment works are overdue and need to progress. While they will be welcome when they do take place, these works are really a sticking plaster. Some clarity on the long-term plan is needed. It is not a bad idea for the school to occupy the site of the old post-primary school but, as I have said, it is not suitable in its current condition. It would need a significant upgrade either through knocking it down and rebuilding or through a complete refurbishment of the building. The school is looking for clarity. The school, its board of management, the principal and the school team have managed well and are putting their best foot forward but they are really trying to attract pupils. This problem really arises from the school's success because it has been so popular since approval for this new Gaelcholáiste was secured. However, as I have said, that progress is threatened with derailment if parents have to decide in the next two or three years whether their children will attend school in a shopping centre or in an old dilapidated school building. Perhaps they will vote with their feet and send their children elsewhere. In the long term, that could undermine the viability of the school, which would be a shame as it is the culmination of a couple of decades' work to get it open in the first place. It is thriving but it needs that certainty. I believe the Minister, Deputy Foley, is to meet with Deputies after the break. That is welcome and would represent progress.

I am not sure whether I will get to speak again. I see I will not. I put on record my thanks to the Minister of State for help with another matter local to Kildare, in Bodenstown Cemetery, where he was very helpful to the community. I want to acknowledge that while I am on my feet. The Minister of State is on overtime tonight with all of the Topical Issue debates.


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