Seanad debates

Thursday, 7 February 2019

An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business

 

10:30 am

Photo of Catherine ArdaghCatherine Ardagh (Fianna Fail)

I would like to dedicate the Order of Business today to education. We all know the maxim "mol an óige agus tiocfaidh sí, cáin an óige agus críonfaidh sí". In Ballyfermot, there are three schools merging into one. I thank the Dominicans, the De La Salle Brothers and the Sisters of Charity for their 60-year contribution to education in Ballyfermot. They have made serious strides and progression rates to third level education have increased by up to 50%. We are in changing times and there is a shift towards co-education schools. Ballyfermot is a settled area. Three schools will merge into one and this school will require investment, including in gym, science and technology facilities. I ask the Leader to convey to the Minister for Education and Skills the need for continuity of service. The lands are available and only require capital investment.

The second issue I raise is also related to a secondary school. It is in a different part of Dublin, namely, the Harold's Cross area, in Dublin 6W. The Department of Education and Skills has excluded Dublin 12 from the patronage survey of this school and children from the Dublin 12 area will be excluded from accessing the school. An Educate Together group comprising parents in the Dublin 8 and 12 areas has met and has a great deal of public support. There is an urgent need for a co-educational non-denominational school in this area. The committee of this school has found it very difficult to get a meeting with the Minister for Education and Skills, Deputy McHugh. I ask the Leader to request the Minister to meet the committee of the Educate Together school.

My final point is on a good news story. I congratulate the Assumption secondary school in Walkinstown which topped the Sunday Independentschool league table and was named the most improved school in the country. This is an all-girls school in Walkinstown and 100% of the students last year went on to third level education. That is a major step and I congratulate the principal, Siobháin Hoey, her staff and all the girls in the school. It is wonderful to see what can be achieved with good parents and teachers in a good school. The school is in a DEIS area, so it is something to be examined.

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