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Principal lashes TD over 'taking credit' for school

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Lucan Educate Together School. Photo: Doug O'Connor

Lucan Educate Together School. Photo: Doug O'Connor

Lucan Educate Together School. Photo: Doug O'Connor

A DUBLIN TD who claims to have "initiated and delivered" a new school extension had nothing to do with the plan, the school's principal has said.

In a heated row, Fine Gael TD Derek Keating was accused of "gross cynical opportunism" for taking the credit.

The TD had outlined a list of improvements he had "delivered" for Lucan in a leaflet circulated to constituents, including an expansion to Griffeen Valley Educate Together school.

Replying to Mr Keating through an open letter, school principal Tomas O Dulaing said the politician had not assisted in the plans in any way.

 

Unfair

Speaking to the Herald, the principal said it "really annoyed" him that the TD – who had "absolutely nothing to do" with the extension – "would engage in the kind of cynicism we would associate with the Fianna Fail of old".

He added: "I decided this is just not fair and it's very unfair to a lot of people in here who have given a huge amount of voluntary hours in particular. It really, really annoyed me."

Mr Keating hit back, telling the Herald he had raised the issue "at numerous meetings" with both Department of Education officials and the minister. "I have made representations on a whole range of occasions and that has now come to fruition," he said.

But Mr O Dulaing said: "When is a politician going to be very involved in making representations and not communicate that to the people involved? I don't think they really operate like that."

Mr Keating agreed he had never had a formal meeting with the school board of management and had not been asked by them to make any recommendations. He had, however, met parents as a public representative and it was his job to push for "the education needs of my constituency".

 

Integrity

"My history of working on behalf of that school pre-dates its existence," he added.

Mr Keating said the claims in the letter were "absolutely without foundation".

Mr O Dulaing, who is the chair of the Alliance Against Cutbacks in Education, said his letter was not meant as a personal attack.

"Nothing in this open letter, Derek, is intended to question your integrity or to attack you personally. "However, I respectfully suggest that the Derek Is Delivering leaflet is an example of the kind of political cynicism that seems to infect many of our politicians when they join our political elite."

hnews@herald.ie


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