Tuesday 25 July 2017

'Unless you have minister's ear, nothing gets done'

St Brendan's National school, Blennerville, Co Kerry, was built in 1939 and there are now up to 29 pupils per cramped classroom
St Brendan's National school, Blennerville, Co Kerry, was built in 1939 and there are now up to 29 pupils per cramped classroom

WHEN Mike O'Connor bec-ame principal of St Brendan's National School in Blenn-erville, Co Kerry, in 1996, one of the first things he did was apply for a new school, writes Paul Melia.

The existing school was built in 1932, and had four classrooms. Today, one measuring 19 feet by 18 feet is home to 27 pupils, a teacher and special needs teacher. A second room much the same size holds 28.

"You're trying to run a modern classroom. If someone gave me a computer I wouldn't have anywhere to put it," he said. "In April 2000, the department sent us a letter granting us a new school."

But not until 2006 was a site bought, when the department spent €240,000 on a 1.12 acre site. In May 2007, Mr O'Connor was taken to Tullamore and shown plans for an eight-teacher school.

"In January 2008, I got the word that the project suspended indefinitely. No one had the decency to tell us."

Unless you've got the ear of a minister, he claims, schools will not be built.

Irish Independent

Promoted articles

Editors Choice

Also in Life