Parents start campaign for all-Irish school
FEARS of a looming crisis over school places in Ballincollig have prompted parents to start a campaign for a new all-Irish secondary school in the town.
A committee of parents from Gaelscoil Uí Riordáin primary school has lodged a formal application with the Department of Education for a new 800-place gaelcholasite to cater for increased demand for second level all-Irish places.
A recent public meeting was told Gaelscoil Uí Riordáin, one of the largest gaelscoileanna in the country, would break the 600 pupil barrier next September.
The meeting, attended by some 200 parents, was also told the boards of management of Choláiste Choilm and Gaelcholáiste Choilm had adopted a new admissions policy before last Easter.
This new policy meant that for the first time, pupils graduating from Gaelscoil Uí Ríordáin this year would not guaranteed a place in Gaelcholáiste Choilm's tAonad.
Parents head that if 80% of the students attending gaelscoileanna in the area wish to continue their second level education through Irish this year, there will be a shortfall of 29 second level places.
They were also told that if nothing is done to address the issue, the situation will reach crisis point by 2020 - when today's junior infants are graduating - with a shortfall of up to 90 places predicted.
Committee members this week met separately with TDs Aine Collins and Michael Moynihan to seek support for their campaign.
A spokesperson described the meeting as "constructive".
"Both TDs acknowledged the need for a new secondary school and agreed to look into the situation. They said they would write to the Department of Education and the Cork Education and Training Board," said the spokesperson.
"The two TDs also said they would closely monitor the progress of the planning application."
Gaelscoil Uí Riordáin principal, Gabriel Ó Cathasaigh, said the number of people that attended the public meeting highlighted the level of concern amongst parents.
"This campaign is coming from the parents and we are confident the department will look favourably on the application," he said.
Meanwhile, the Cork Education and Training Board confirmed it does not have plans to extend an tAonad.