Seanad debates

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Commencement Matters

Sports Facilities Provision

10:30 am

Photo of Darragh O'BrienDarragh O'Brien (Fianna Fail) | Oireachtas source

I wish to raise the need for the Minister for Education and Skills to provide an update on the provision of sporting, recreational and physical education facilities at Balbriggan community college, Balbriggan, County Dublin.

Earlier this week, I visited Balbriggan community college with a number of parents, students and staff. It is a well-regarded secondary school with over 500 students but there are no PE facilities. In 2012, permission was granted for a new PE hall and everything was going fine. That year, however, demolition experts moved in and demolished the PE hall and the recreational area. They have still not been replaced so there is a large vacant site in the middle of the school.

Students have not had any PE or recreational facilities for the past three years, which is a matter of real concern to them, their parents and the staff. The staff are very committed to this forward-thinking school. I have raised this Commencement matter in order to get some firm answers from the Department of Education and Skills. The school has been endeavouring to ascertain what is happening and when it will get a PE hall. Is the funding available for it and, if so, what is the timeline of the project? We keep being told it will arrive next week or shortly thereafter but it is unacceptable that over 500 students in Balbriggan do not have access to PE and recreational facilities in their school.

I am seeking direct answers from the Minister of State, on behalf of the Department of Education and Skills, to the following questions. What is happening with this project and when will the school get a new PE hall? When will construction work start on it and what timeline is envisaged? In addition, what is the overall plan for the school? Many of us are concerned that there may be another reason for this delay, but I hope there is no ulterior motive.

I would be grateful if the Minister of State could provide an update on when work will commence on building the PE facilities that are badly needed in Balbriggan community college, and when the project be finished.


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