Wednesday, 15 May 2019
Ceisteanna ar Reachtaíocht a Gealladh (Atógáil) - Questions on Promised Legislation (Resumed)
There was a major fire in the Patrician Academy secondary school in Mallow on 12 July 2016. Nearly three years later, and following many consultations between the Department of Education and Skills, officials, teachers and the school's board of management, there is still no planning permission to build new classrooms. Inspectors from the Department of Education and Skills carried out a whole school evaluation of the school some four months ago. The report produced stated that the request for new classrooms and facilities should be approved. Will the Minister for Education and Skills look into this matter and see what is holding up this process? It is three years since the fire and I am sure the last thing the Department wants is an ongoing series of temporary add-ons to structures. It is better to build a new overall structure now.
I know the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, Deputy Eoghan Murphy, is not here but I would like an update on the provision of disabled persons grants for council housing and social housing. We are still waiting for funding in Limerick, as of a week or ten days ago. I would be grateful if my question could be relayed back to the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government.
I want to raise an issue that is relevant at the moment. I refer to the electoral register. In my area, and particularly in my home town, the register has 2,300 people but it is wrong by 250. People have moved away, changed address and died. Postal workers are delivering electoral literature at the moment to houses where family members are deceased. That is wrong. Since nobody seems to be working on this, I respectfully suggest that An Post could have a role in resolving the issue and getting the register right. Representatives of An Post call to houses every week and they know who is there. I think this is a job for An Post and I ask the Minister to check out this approach. This issue is causing annoyance to many people because receiving election literature for people who are deceased is hurtful, particularly if the death has occurred recently.
I have a question regarding the future of a school in Ballisodare in County Sligo. I asked the Minister to attend some weeks ago and meet with the representatives of parents. He did that and met them in Sligo. Parents, teachers and everybody associated with the school are still concerned about its future, however. I have been canvassing in the area in recent weeks and this is a major issue. I ask the Minister for an update.
I understand that the Minister of State, Deputy Phelan, is looking at the system of drawing up the electoral register to see if improvements can be made. There is a desire in the long term to see an electoral commission established and more systematic oversight put in place. In the short term, however, the Minister of State will be reviewing this issue and I will ask him to include the concerns outlined by the Deputy.
A collective effort is being made at political and parental level. I thank Deputy McLoughlin for raising the matter and, noting that there is another Member from the constituency present, update the House to the effect that there will be a meeting tomorrow between officials of my Department and the ETB to ensure there is a firm focus on the long-term viability of the school.