Thursday, 9 November 2000
Seanad Eireann Debate
Mr. T. Hayes: I thank the Cathaoirleach for the opportunity to raise this important matter on the Adjournment. I am delighted the Minister of State, Deputy Davern, is present because he is au fait with this issue. The people concerned have consulted him about it.
The gaelscoil in Tipperary town was set up some years ago. It was small when it was first established but it is now a stand-alone school. Its accommodation is the cause of the current difficulty because it must pay large fees to the local rugby club. This is not sustainable in the long term. As the Minister of State is aware, there are many success stories throughout the county involving gaelscoileanna, particularly in Clonmel. The number of this type of school is growing and they should be promoted and helped.
 Regarding the school in Tipperary town, a site is available. There is extreme concern because, in the long term, the school needs a proper building. This is why I tabled this matter for the Adjournment and I look forward to the Minister of State's response.
Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development (Mr. Davern): I thank the Senator for giving me the opportunity to clarify the position regarding the acquisition of a site and a building project for Gaelscoil Thiobraid Árann.
The school has a staffing level of a principal, four assistants and a shared remedial teacher. The enrolment on 30 September 1999 was 96 pupils. The school was granted permanent recognition by the Department of Education and Science in 1998 and it is currently accommodated in the local rugby club, with 95% of rental costs grant-aided by the Department. The rugby club greatly appreciates those funds.
The school authorities identified a site locally and approached the Department of Education and Science to consider purchasing the site as a location for a permanent building for the school. The Department is actively pursuing the acquisition of a site for the school and as soon as the legal formalities have been completed, the Department will be in contact with the school authorities.
Mr. Davern: As soon as the legal formalities have been completed, the Department will be in contact with the school authorities. I am pleased to point out that architectural planning for the construction of a new school is at an advanced stage.
I assure the Senator that these matters will be progressed as quickly as possible having regard to the large volume of school building projects on hand within the building unit of the Department of Education and Science.
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