Seanad debates

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

4:00 pm

Photo of Batt O'KeeffeBatt O'Keeffe (Minister of State with special responsibility for Housing, Urban Renewal and Developing Areas, Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government; Cork North West, Fianna Fail)

I thank the Senator for giving me the opportunity of outlining to the House the Department's position regarding the provision of a new community school for Glenamaddy, County Galway.

It is proposed to build a new community school in Glenamaddy with a floor area of approximately 5,200 sq. m. to cater for a long term projected enrolment of 550 pupils. This new school is to cater for the amalgamation of St. Joseph's convent school and the vocational school. The amalgamated school is housed on the site of St Joseph's convent school in a mixture of temporary and permanent accommodation.

Tenders were originally received for the proposed new school in 2004. However, owing to delays acquiring the site under the redress scheme it was not possible to accept a tender at that time. The project was re-tendered in 2007 and a tender report for the project is being reviewed by the Department of Education and Science.

Under the lifetime of the national development plan approximately €4.5 billion will be invested in schools. Approximately €600 million will be spent this year on school buildings. This is an unprecedented level of capital investment which reflects the commitment of the Government to continue its programme of sustained investment in primary and post-primary schools. This investment will facilitate the provision of new schools and extensions in developing areas and the improvement of existing schools through the provision of replacement schools, extensions or large-scale refurbishments over the next few years.

The progression of all large-scale building projects from initial design stage through to construction phase is considered on an ongoing basis in the context of the national development plan and the Department's multi-annual school building and modernisation programme. The project referred to by the Senator likewise will be considered in that context. I give the assurance that the Minister and her Department are committed to providing a new community school for Glenamaddy at the earliest possible date.

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