Sunday 24 March 2019

Anxious times for Dunleer extension

Work stops on multi million euro Scoil Ui Mhuiri project and no sign of completion

Hubert Murphy

The multi-million euro extension to Dunleer's Scoil Ui Mhuiri has halted - with no firm timeframe for works to recommence on the building.

It follows financial problems encountered by the builders, Northern Irish firm McAleer & Teague. They moved off site some weeks ago and are facing the prospect of examinership, which means it may have to withdraw from the contract to build the school.

A number of local contractors have also experienced considerable loss of money as a result of the impass,

Scoil Uí Mhuirí is in dire need of the new space. Opened in 1954 when 55 pupils were enrolled, today there are over 600 and 45 on the staff.

The school serves the areas of Annagassan, Clogherhead, Fieldstown, Walshetown, Tenure, Philipstown, Dromin, Kilsaran, Togher and Dunleer itself.

The new extension, which had a sod turning in 2016, will see the school number rise to 750.

Speaking about the extension announcement at the time, former principal Fiona Kindlon remarked, "this is an exciting time for Scoil Uí Mhuirí as it

embarks on this latest phase of its development. This will be the third extension to the school in recent years and is an indication of the rapid growth the school is experiencing.

'The new two storey extension will comprise a range of specialist rooms including a new science lab, engineering room, construction/woodwork room. Multimedia lab, library, pastoral offices and general classrooms.

'The school also looks forward to doubling its provision for students with Autism by providing a Special Needs Unit which will also have the capacity for 12 students fully equipped with classrooms, meeting rooms and daily living skills area. The new extension will also have a high specification ICT infrastructure installed throughout.'

It was envisaged that the building would be ready for earlier this year.

It was reported recently that the builders, who also carried out the Brandywell Stadium refurbishment, were to seek a voluntary arrangement with its creditors to avoid liquidation. The Directors of McAleer & Teague informed employees, customers, suppliers and subcontractors that it had no option but to seek a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA).

That means they will drop some projects and continue with others.

Meanwhile, the ongoing saga with the proposed roundabout outside the school rumbles on.

It has been fenced off and it remains to be seen if Louth CC will carry on the project.

Concerns have been expressed about the ability of big machinery to get around the roundabout.

Drogheda Independent