Thursday 17 January 2019

Crisis in our schools as they fill up

John Manning

The crisis in providing sufficient school places at primary level to match demand in the youngest county in Ireland has spread from what we have already seen at its most intense in the River Valley area of Swords, northwards to Balbriggan.

The growing primary school place crisis in Fingal is reaching boiling point, according to Fingal Labour TD, Brendan Ryan, who raised the issue in the Dáil with the Minister for Education, Richard Bruton.

Deputy Ryan called on the Minister for Education to declare Fingal 'an emergency area for school provision' and said the 'crisis for primary school places is set to increase in September'.

The Labour TD told the Fingal Independent: 'Fingal is the fastest growing and youngest county in Ireland, and has been for over a decade.

'We are now facing another year of crisis with primary school places as there are not enough schools to cope with the population increase.

'This problem is especially acute in Swords where the waiting list for the Holy Family Junior National School is getting worse year on year.

'The school is situated bang in the centre of River Valley which is in itself, bounded by Boroimhe and Ridgewood, both of which are huge population hubs with many young families.'

But the crisis does not end in Swords and has spread across Fingal, according to the local Labour TD.

Deputy Ryan explained: 'I have placed a parliamentary question asking the Minister for Education to set up an emergency task force for Fingal to include representatives from all patronage bodies and senior officials in his own department to examine and resolve this crisis as a matter of urgency.'

Turning to an emerging crisis in Balbriggan, he said: 'I have received a letter from the Chair of the Board of Management in a school in Balbriggan citing that they are over-subscribed by 88 students. The school building program initiated by Labour in the last Government has ground to a halt and we are reaping the results of that now.'

Jigsaw North Fingal do a tremendous job from their Balbriggan base in delivering vital supports to young people experiencing issues with mental health and an opportunity is coming up to help the organisation in Croke Park.

In aid of the national network of Jigsaw organisations, including North Fingal Jigsaw, you are being asked to take on the Jigsaw Croke Park Abseil, supported by Arthur Cox.

This very unique fundraiser is being held at Croke Park on Saturday, April 28 and will help to raise vital funds to support young people with their mental health.

Jigsaw, Ireland's National Centre for Youth Mental Health, are seeking 60 brave individuals to join them in an abseil fundraising challenge from the top of the famous Hogan Stand at Croke Park.

The challenge aims to raise over €30,000 to support Jigsaw's work delivering a range of services improving the lives of young people experiencing mental health difficulties.

'I absolutely loved the Jigsaw Croke Park Abseil,' said Justin McDermott, who took park in last year's abseil.

He added: 'I was terrified at the top, but once I had my feet firmly on the pitch I wanted to do it all over again! It's a great way to support Jigsaw and youth mental health whist having an amazing and memorable experience.'

You can register your interest in taking part online at, or by calling The Jigsaw Fundraising Team on 01 472 7010. There is a €50 registration fee, and participants are asked to raise at least €300. Jigsaw will be there with you every step of the way, giving support to help you reach your fundraising target.

Fingal Independent