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Derek Keating outside Leinster House

Derek Keating outside Leinster House

Derek Keating outside Leinster House

THE Department of Education has no record of any written contact from Dublin TD Derek Keating about a school expansion project at the centre of a major row.

The Dublin Mid-West TD made representations in writing on behalf of two schools in Lucan but none in connection with Griffeen Valley Educate Together school, files obtained by the Herald show.

It comes after the principal of Griffeen Valley, Tomas O Dulaing, last month accused the deputy of wrongly claiming credit for helping to secure an extension to the school.

Mr Keating hit back, telling the Herald he had raised the issue "at numerous meetings" with both department officials and Education Minister Ruairi Quinn.

It has now emerged the department does not have any documentation to back up the TD's claim.

Between his election to the Dail in February 2011 and last May, Mr Keating lobbied minister Quinn in writing on three occasions about Lucan schools.

In March last year, junior education minister Ciaran Cannon forwarded correspondence to Mr Quinn in which Mr Keating raised the problem of staffing levels at Archbishop Ryan Junior & Senior National Schools in Lucan.

The department also has a record of Mr Keating lobbying on behalf of Michael Maher, principal of St Thomas Junior National School in Esker, Lucan.

Mr Keating wrote an email to Mr Quinn in February this year in relation to the school's application for an extension, the files obtained under the Freedom of Information Act (FOI) show.

A third series of correspondence relates to the Archbishop Ryan School again, with Mr Keating requesting a meeting with department officials last April to discuss a proposed building project at the school.

CONTACTED

The TD did not return a call when contacted by the Herald yesterday.

Mr O Dulaing told the Herald he is "not surprised" by the latest revelation as he always believed the deputy had no involvement in securing funding for the extension.

After an article on the row appeared in the Lucan Gazette last month, Mr Keating's aide Tommy Morris was caught on CCTV removing dozens of copies of the newspaper from a local shop.

Gardai were later called in to investigate the disappearance of some 3,000 local newspapers from stores in the area.

Mr Keating subsequently initiated an internal investigation into the incident.

"I wish to be unequivocal that, at no time, in this alleged incident, did Mr Morris act with my knowledge or consent," the TD said at the time.

comurphy@herald.ie


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