Tuesday 26 March 2019

St Finian's protest over continuing project delay

Protest at St Finian’s Community College over delays in its extension project
Protest at St Finian’s Community College over delays in its extension project

John Manning

Parents and students from local Swords school are organising a campaign to highlight, what they consider is 'a grave injustice to the young people of Swords' and north county Dublin.

The school in question is St Finian's Community College who have been waiting on a major redevelopment and extension for a decade now.

'Promises made have become promises broken by successive governments,' according to a spokesperson for the teaching staff at the school.

St. Finian's Community College has been approved for a major redevelopment, renovation and extension since 2009 and still there is no sign of the project starting.

A recent campaign led by the Politics and Society class in St. Finian's Community College has seen the issue raised in the Dáil, by deputies Clare Daly, and Louise O'Reilly and in the Seanad by Senator James Reilly.

Parliamentary questions on the issue have also been posed by deputies Darragh O'Brien and Brendan Ryan.

Students hope that their voice, demanding respect, will be heard once and for all.

They now fear that cuts to capital budgets arising from the overspend on the Children's Hospital project, will stop the long-overdue school refurbishment and they are calling on all their local representatives and Government ministers to pledge that their right to the best possible environment, in which to learn and grow, will not be sacrificed.

According to Principal Patricia Knightly: 'Our students are thriving - in academics, sports, leadership and innovation, despite the challenges of our ageing building. The high quality teaching and learning in the school, our strong links with the community and the diverse range of subjects available to our students is shaping the creative minds of the future.'

Students in St. Finian's Community College are engaging in computer science, multimedia, robotics and coding. Planning has started to establish an innovation hub in the school, not only for the students but for the benefit of the Swords area.

The hub will aim to inspire students and the community to become the creators and innovators of tomorrow. They seek to build on the expertise and enthusiasm of their highly motivated staff to deliver 'game changing' opportunities to the students and the wider community.

A spokesperson for the teaching staff at the school said: 'We seek, not just to equip students with IT skills and digital literacy, but also to equip them with 'new smart' skills, which will enable them to succeed in a world of virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and the pressure of 24 hour social networking. We believe that what will best serve our students of today, tomorrow and into the future will be the core skills of critical thinking, creativity and collaboration.'

Fiona Hudson, a past pupil of St. Finian's C.C. and a current employee of our local university DCU, is a strong advocate of this campaign. She 'acknowledges the great work that is being done in St. Finian's Community College. to continuously promote and encourage learning and innovation in the current environment'.

She says: 'Nonetheless, every student is entitled to a learning environment that supports and enhances their school experience. The existing building doesn't meet 2019 standards and it's important that this is heard and addressed by the department who are ultimately responsible for the education of our young people.'

St. Finian's wishes to build on their long tradition of establishing strong and caring relationships across the school and community and seeks the best possible environment for students and staff to learn and teach.

Fingal Independent