Wednesday 19 June 2019

School community takes to the streets in protest

St Joseph's Secondary School protest march in Rush.
St Joseph's Secondary School protest march in Rush.

Over 650 students of St Joseph's Secondary School, Rush supported by staff, parents and friends took to the streets of the seaside town last week in protest at the lack of progress in providing a desperately needed new school building that was promised in 2007 and for which a site was agreed in 2009.

Over 100 families in Rush were rocked in mid-October to be told that the demand for September 2019 first year places in St Joseph's had ballooned to almost double the available spaces, meaning they had been turned down in the chase for the 120 spaces available

A swiftly mounted campaign including action by students, staff, parents, and school management has secured the provision of four temporary classrooms for that September 2019 intake but national school numbers in the area confirm there is still a desperate need for up to 100 places more each year over the next five years

The march last Tuesday saw the entire student population of St Joseph's march from the existing school premises to the new site to highlight the delay and to call on the Department of Education to speed up the design, planning and building process.

St Joseph's Principal Ms Patricia Hayden highlighted the need to maintain the pressure for the new school.

She said: ' It has been a difficult number of weeks since we were forced to tell parents there were only 120 places for 224 applicants. While the temporary classrooms offer some relief, it is only a short-term fix. The increase in demand comes on foot of an explosion of population in this region that will see similar demand annually for the foreseeable future. Rush was promised a new school with a site chosen and procured but there is a long way to go before that is a reality.'

Senator Dr, James Reilly, Chairman of the Board of Management at St Joseph's said: 'The whole community is still shocked at how little has been done on the new school despite the obvious growth in population.

'The need for a new school is strongly felt by everyone in and around Rush. Today's march is just the beginning. A broad group of supporters of the school in the community has come together and is planning an ongoing campaign to ensure we reach into every office that matters and keep up the pressure until that new school is open, up and running.'

Fingal Independent