Tuesday 27 September 2016

At least 14 brand new schools will open in the next few years to meet rising population growth

Katherine Donnelly, Education Editor

Published 17/11/2015 | 13:21

Education Minister Jan O’Sullivan unveiled the €3.8bn school building programme 2016-21.
Education Minister Jan O’Sullivan unveiled the €3.8bn school building programme 2016-21.

At least 14 brand new schools will open in the next few years to meet rising population growth.

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Education Minister Jan O’Sullivan announced the  locations today as she unveiled the €3.8bn school building programme 2016-21.

With an election in the air, Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tanaiste Joan Burton also attended the announcement.

See full list here: PDF: Six year Construction Programme 2015 - 2021

Overall the  six year programme will cover 324 projects – either new builds or major extensions to provide 19,000 new primary school places and 43,000 new post-primary places. It included 50 projects that  were part of the previous plan and which will go to construction in 2016

The minster also promised that the long-term use of pre-fabs in schools would be a thing of the past by 2021.

With the bulge in pupil numbers now moving into second-level, 10 of the new schools will be post-primary, six of which will open in 2017 at Carpenterstown/Castleknock, Dublin 15; Portmarnock/Malahide, Co Dublin; Lucan, Co Dublin; Swords, Co Dublin;  Portlaois, Co Laois and Limerick city (south west)

They will be followed in 2018 with three new post-primary schools at Limerick city (east), Firhouse, Dublin 24 and Dublin south city centre,  while a new  gaelcholáiste is slated for Maynooth, Co Kildare in 2019.

 At primary level, new schools will open in Pellettstown, Dublin 7; Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin; Ballincollig, Co Cork, in 2017, and in Dublin south city centre in 2018.

 No decision has yet been made on who should run the new schools – and the Department of Education will oversee a process where interested parties will be invited to apply.

 Department  data also indicates  indicates that new schools may be also be necessary at post-primary level in areas such as South Kildare; Enfield (Kilcock feeder area); Galway city; north-west Dublin City; the Dublin 13 & Dublin 17 area; Kinnegad (Killucan feeder area); and the Mallow and Fermoy areas in County Cork, and the Milltown area of Dublin at primary level.

 The building programme plan announced today relates to major projects – generally costing in excess of €1m.  Funding for smaller projects – such as the addition of a classroom etc. is dealt with on an ongoing basis.

 On the pre-fab issue, Ms O’Sullivan said she always believed “it was a scandal that at the height of the Celtic tiger, we focussed on renting prefabs rather than building permanent schools”.

 Although originally  intended as  a short-term solution to accommodation needs, pre-fabs have been an all too familiar part of the Irish educational landscape, with thousands in use at any one time.

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