Wednesday 16 January 2019

2019 fix for crisis in school places?

John Manning

For the first time, Swords south has specifically been marked out by the Department of Education as an area in need of additional educational facilities and a new primary school will be established there by 2019, finally relieving a school place crisis at Holy Family NS.

Previously the whole of Swords has been treated as a single entity by the Department which has led to a school place crisis in the south of the town, around the River Valley, Ridgewood and Boroimhe areas.

That has left Holy Family NS in River Valley greatly oversubscribed but it seems relief for the area is finally on the way after the latest list of new schools to be established over the next four years includes a primary school, specifically for Swords south, to be opened by September 2019.

Cllr Duncan Smith (Lab) believes that school will be in the Fosterstown area which includes Ridgewood and Boroimhe, two of Swords largest estates.

Cllr Smith said: 'The announcement from the Department of Education that two new eight classroom primary schools for Swords should be welcomed, in particular, the announcement that a school will be built in Swords south.

'The greatest pressure on school places in Swords is in the River Valley area with Holy Family NS under great pressure every year. this is the first time the Department has identified Swords south as distinct from just Swords for a new school.

'Now the department needs to fast track this new school. I received the below response from Fingal County Council this week which indicates that the council are working to identify a site in South swords for a school site. This is an urgent priority.;

Recently, Cllr Smith asked the council where it stood in pursuing a site within the Fosterstown Local Area Plan land for a school.

The council said it was liaising with the Department of Education 'in relation to the identification of a suitable site to facilitate a new permanent primary school in the south Swords area'.

However, the local authority said: 'Due to commercial sensitivities relating to site acquisitions generally Fingal County Council is not in a position to provide further details at this time.'

Local Fianna Fáil TD, Darragh O'Brien has said that the commitment to construct a number of schools in Fingal should be cautiously welcomed considered they have been previously announced and little movement made on their development.

Deputy O'Brien said Minister Bruton was setting out plans to build 42 new schools, despite not having delivered on previous school building commitments to date.

The Deputy said, 'I've been raising the urgent need for extra school places in Dublin Fingal in Dáil Éireann for far too long now. I am glad that Fianna Fáil's extensive lobbying for these schools builds had resulted in some progress on the need to extend school places in our area.'

He added: 'I am of course pleased to see any proposal to develop two schools for Swords, one in Donabate as well as a new secondary schools Swords and another in Malahide/Portmarnock. I am however, concerned that this is simply another announcement.'

Deputy O'Brien concluded; 'These new school building projects are critically needed but the real test of today's Government announcement will be the delivery,'

Fingal Independent