Friday 19 April 2019

Community Council insists that Spires East school must come first

Donabate Portrane Community Council has expressed its 'disappointment' at a reply it got from the Education Minister about the provision of schools for the area.

A recent Dáil question put to Minister Joe McHugh on behalf of the community council inquired about the rationale behind the decision to provide the first of three new primary schools in Donabate on a site in Corballis.

According to the community council, the Donabate Local Area Plan states that the first of four schools to be built is on the Spires East land near Ballymastone in the village. The land is owned by the council.

But it now looks likely that the first of four new schools in the area is to be built on the Corballis lands on the peninsula.

A community council spokesperson said: 'Minister McHugh was told the Corballis site is privately-owned and the taxpayer has to pay for the purchase of the site. He was also told the Fingal Schools Model was always best practice, with Fingal providing publicly owned sites for 50pc less of the market value with the monies raised then invested in the local community.'

The Minister responded in his Dáil reply that a site identification and acquisition process is currently underway for new school, with the assistance of Fingal County Council. No decision has yet been made regarding its location, the Minister said.

But Mr McHugh went on to say that through engagement with Fingal County Council it has been indicated that the Corballis lands are likely to be developed ahead of those at Ballymastone, within which the Spires East site is located.

The Minister said: 'As you may be aware, significant infrastructural works at Corballis are being funded under the Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund which are intended to facilitate the development of approximately 1,200 residential units by 2021.'

The Minister said that would mean a demand for school places in the area and that is why the decision to develop the Corballis school is being pursued. While the community council welcomed a new school to the area, it argues that the Spire East site should be first. A spokesperson for the community council said: 'A business plan on the need for a school at the Spires East site has been submitted by Donabate Portrane Community Council to the Department of Education. This outlines the phasing of the LAP and rationale for putting the next school on the Spires East site.'

Fingal Independent