Wednesday, 19 December 2007
Pat Carey (Minister of State with special responsibility for Drugs Strategy and Community Affairs, Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs; Dublin North West, Fianna Fail)
I thank the Senator for raising the matter. I am replying on behalf of the Minister for Education and Science. I welcome this opportunity to outline the position. Even I know the circumstances of Kinvara at this stage.
On the 16 May 2007, the Minister for Education and Science announced the provision of a new second level school for the Kinvara area. This decision was and remains predicated on the Mercy Order, as trustees of Seamount College, accepting first year students each year until the end of the 2011-12 school year. I wish to acknowledge that the trustees accepted first year students this September and they have also decided to accept first year students in 2008 and 2009.
The commission on school accommodation conducted a survey on the identification of accommodation needs in the south Galway area, including the position relating to provision in Kinvara. This survey has recently been completed and the Minister will receive a copy by the end of this week. However, the Senator will appreciate planning for a new school involves a number of processes which can take some time to complete, most notably the acquisition of a suitable site, the design of a building, the grant of planning permission, the seeking of tenders and construction. Many of these factors are outside the direct control of the Department of Education and Science.
I again thank Senator Cannon for raising the matter and I will bring his concerns to the attention of the Minister.