Tuesday, 13 December 2005
Dáil Eireann Debate
461. Ms C. Murphy asked the Minister for Education and Science the potential school intake at primary and secondary level in the Naas, Celbridge, Sallins, Clane, Maynooth and Kilcock areas of County Kildare for September 2006; the current number of school places provided in those areas; the way in which the difference will be made up; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39295/05]
Minister for Education and Science (Ms Hanafin): I am aware that the areas to which the Deputy refers, like many located in close proximity to Dublin, continue to experience population growth, a position that almost inevitably places some strain on existing educational provision. I am pleased to inform the Deputy that a range of significant measures has been undertaken by my Department to address the current and future need for pupil places in the areas in question. While the information sought is not readily available in the format requested by the Deputy, the following is an outline of the measures undertaken by my Department to ensure that there are adequate places available in those areas to meet demand.
In the Naas locality, at primary level, an entire new school has been provided at Killashee, while temporary accommodation has been provided at Scoil Corbain, St. Conleth’s and St. Mary’s national school and St. Conleth’s Naofa. Temporary accommodation has also been approved at Caragh national school, St. Corban’s national school, Gaelscoil Nás na Ríogh and Scoil Naomh Brighde.
A brand new, state-of-the-art, 16-classroom school, together with a double autistic unit, was also opened this September in Naas town. This project, in particular, will assist in easing any difficulties for primary pupil places that may exist in Naas.
Additionally, there are proposals to improve accommodation at St. David’s national school and Two Mile House national school. The long-term accommodation needs of the national schools at Ballycane, Caragh and the Convent of Mercy are also currently being assessed.
At post-primary level, the management authority of St. Patrick’s post-primary School, County Kildare VEC, is currently progressing plans to relocate the school and extend capacity to 1,000 pupil places. Additionally, an extension project is under construction at St. Mary’s College which will increase capacity at the school to 900 pupils. A similar extension is under construction at Meánscoil Iognaid Rís, and further accommodation needs at the school are currently in planning.
At Sallins national school, a seven-classroom extension is under construction. When completed, that extension will increase capacity from nine classrooms to 16 classrooms. An extension to bring the school up to 24 classrooms commenced architectural planning this year.
Regarding Clane, in 2004, St. Patrick’s boys’ school was given capital funding which enabled the school to build two mainstream classrooms and three resource rooms. The school authority recently applied for further additional accommodation. At post-primary level, Clane community school has applied for additional accommodation. Both applications are currently being assessed in the school planning section of my Department.
In addition to the above, and as the Deputy will be aware, following widespread local consultation, my Department recently published an area development plan for the N4-M4 corridor. That plan outlines my Department’s long-term educational strategy at both primary and post-primary level for the area, which includes Celbridge and Maynooth. Implementation of the recommendations in the plan is being considered in the context of the school building and modernisation programme from 2006 onwards, subject to the prioritisation criteria for large-scale building projects.
All those initiatives represent huge capital investment and demonstrate my commitment to meeting the needs of the areas concerned. The school planning section of my Department will keep the position under review to ensure that any additional emerging needs are met as expeditiously as possible.
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