independent

Wednesday 20 March 2019

Show of force for new secondary school

Minister for Education Joe McHugh and Minister Michael D’Arcy meeting staff and parents of Star of the Sea NS in Riverchapel
Minister for Education Joe McHugh and Minister Michael D’Arcy meeting staff and parents of Star of the Sea NS in Riverchapel

Brendan Keane

A petition of 1,187 signatures has been handed to the Minister for Education and Skills on behalf of parents in north Wexford who are calling for immediate action to be taken with regard to secondary level places including the development of a new secondary school in the Riverchapel and Courtown area.

The petition was handed to Minister Joe McHugh TD during his visit to north Wexford on Thursday.

Mum-of-five, Elaine Clarke, handed it in and said she started the campaign in January as her son didn't have a place in secondary school in Gorey.

She said that made her do research about school places and that she was shocked by what she discovered.

While her son did get his place in Gorey Community School, Ms Clarke said she decided to continue to fight for a new secondary level school in the general Riverchapel area.

'There will be a serious shortage of places here within the next three years,' she told this newspaper.

Describing the areas as 'thriving and growing' she highlighted that Riverchapel is 'no longer a small, seaside village' but is a 'district town with a population of 6,287'.

'It is the fastest growing area in the country outside of Dublin,' she said, referring to census 2016.

The petition handed to Minister McHugh was part of a comprehensive report compiled by Ms Clarke in which she highlighted the need for a secondary school to service the needs of children in the north Wexford area.

She commented that Gorey, with a population of 9,822, has two secondary schools and the same is true of Bunclody where there is a population of 2,012.

'Kilmuckridge has a population of 722 and has one secondary school but Riverchapel has none,' she said.

'Education should be the highest priority for the Government and the County Council,' she added.

'Therefore, the provision of a secondary school in the Riverchapel, Courtown area needs to be urgently looked at.'

Ms Clarke handed in the petition to Minister McHugh prior to a closed meeting between him and the principals of north Wexford national schools.

After that meeting the minister visited Gorey Community School and Creagh College.

Gorey Guardian

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