Thursday, 21 October 2004
Schools Building Projects.
Frank Feighan (Fine Gael)
I welcome the Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Deputy Noel Ahern, to the House. I also thank the Cathaoirleach for accepting this matter on the Adjournment today.
I have outlined the need for the Minister for Education and Science to report on the progress to date on the extension at Scoil Mhuire, Convent of Mercy, Strokestown, County Roscommon. When I was invited to visit this school I was taken aback by the standard of accommodation and the problems in the school. There is a lack of sports facilities and students must tog out in dressing rooms that are only containers. Staff have their offices and must meet in what were once corridors. The only way I can describe the science rooms is to say they are not state-of-the-art.
As chairperson of Roscommon VEC over two years ago, I oversaw the development of a new school in my home town of Boyle. Once decent facilities were provided in that school, the confidence of the pupils, teachers and parents was transformed. The Convent of Mercy school in Strokestown has over 420 students. While the quality and level of expertise of the teachers and the attitude of parents and students are excellent, they are working in a difficult situation and with facilities that are far from ideal.
I urge the Minister of State to convey to the Minister for Education and Science the necessity to have this school extension fast-tracked so that the students can compete at the highest level and have facilities of which they can be proud and which they deserve. Strokestown has a large catchment area. The school results are a credit to it and it deserves to have the same facilities as are available in other schools.
I know the Minister of State will bring this matter to the attention of the relevant Department and I thank him for his attendance here.