Wednesday 15 August 2018

Frustration over school uncertainty

Construction work continues at the school
Construction work continues at the school

Margaret Roddy at Dundalk Municpal meeting

Frustration over the uncertainty about when Colaiste Chú Chulainn will be ready for handing over to Louth Meath Education and Training Board was voiced by councillors at last week's meeting of the Municipal District of Dundalk.

This is the time of year that students decide what subjects they are going to follow for the following year, Cllr Thomas Sharkey pointed out.

He explained that students wouldn't be able to do some subjects such as engineering, science and I.T. if the new school isn't ready as they won't have access to the necessary facilities.

They would miss out on vital time in the labs and it wasn't just Leaving Cert students who were affected but also those doing the Junior Cert as it is now graded on class based assessments.

Parents are entitled to know what was happening, and children are entitled to have the same access to resources and facilities as in other schools.

'At the minute they are in a substandard building,' he continued.

'It was condemned and they are in a cast off Marist college which wasn't good enough for Marist students.'

'If the school management doesn't know what subject options children will opt for, how can they advertise for staff?' he asked.

'I say for definite that the school will be available for September 1st,' admitted Director of Service Mr Frank Pentony.

He explained that construction work wasn't allowed on part of the site for five months while the judicial review was taking place and they only got the result of that review two weeks ago.

The contractor was now depending on the ESB to come in and build the sub station, which would then have to be commissioned and cabling and power provided to the school.

Cllr Edel Corrigan asked was an alternative site for the sub station considered at any stage, and Mr Pentony replied that it was but it would have been subject to another Part 8 permission which would have taken 3 months.

'Hindsight is wonderful,' he commented, adding that it was the view of the Council and their legal team that there was nothing wrong with the original Part 8 planning permission.

Cllr Peter Savage remarked that 'people are beginning to get fed up and are very annoyed at not being able to make decisions for their children for the coming year.

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