Tuesday, 19 February 2008
Schools Building Projects
Ciarán Cannon (Progressive Democrats)
Rarely in my relatively short career as a politician have I received such a number of telephone calls, e-mails or letters as I have on this matter. I have been in touch with a number of very concerned parents in Glenamaddy in north-east Galway about a commitment given by the Minister for Education and Science and her Department in 2001 that planning for a new community school in Glenamaddy could go ahead immediately. A funding commitment was also given with the funding to be accessed once other aspects of the school planning process were complete.
The school was designed, a site was acquired and planning permission was sought and acquired. A tendering process was put in place and a contractor was appointed. The planning permission is due to expire in June. The people of Glenamaddy and its hinterland are becoming increasingly concerned that the commitment made in 2001 will not be honoured. We are getting to a point where the planning permission will be invalid and a new planning process must be engaged in.
Politicians often wonder why people are becoming increasingly cynical about politics and the political process. It is no wonder such cynicism exists and is growing when a commitment given in 2001 that a new school was about to be put in place has yet to be honoured in 2008.
One parent put it very well in an e-mail she sent me last week which stated:
How can the teachers in Glenamaddy community school teach science without a proper purpose built science room? How can new curricula truly be implemented? Our children will have to imagine rather than explore, investigate, experiment, test or analyse. The same is true of other subjects — art, languages, engineering. Why should the children of Glenamaddy and surrounding areas not get the education to which they are entitled in Glenamaddy?
My oldest child is in fifth class, I first heard talk of the new school bulling when she was in junior infants. I think she and the children of Glenamaddy have waited long enough.
Will the Minister of State clarify the Department's commitment to providing a new school in Glenamaddy? I would be grateful for a swift and honest response.