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Ballincollig Seeks 800-Pupil Gaelcholáiste

July 3, 2014

AN APPLICATION has been made for a new 800-pupil Gaelcholáiste to be set up in Ballincollig.

A committee of teachers and parents has prepared and submitted a detailed application to the Department of Education calling for the establishment of the school to meet the need for an all-Irish secondary school in the town.

The principal of the town’s all-Irish primary school, Gaelscoil Uí Ríordáin, Gabriel Ó Cathasaigh, has warned that the lack of available gaelcholáiste places for graduating gaelscoil pupils could reach crisis point.

Mr Ó Cathasaigh said that if current trends continued, up to 90 children would have no place in an all-Irish secondary school by 2020.

Almost 200 parents of pupils of Gaelscoil Uí Ríordáin attended a public meeting in the school last month to discuss the immediate lack of second-level, all-Irish education places in the town and the difficulties it will cause over the coming years.

The meeting heard that the boards of management of Choláiste Choilm and Gaelcholáiste Choilm adopted a new admissions policy before Easter 2014, meaning that for the first time, pupils graduating from Gaelscoil Uí Ríordáin this year were not guaranteed a place in Gaelcholáiste Choilm.

The figures mean that if just 80% of the students attending gaelscoileanna in the area wish to continue their second-level education in Irish this year, there will be a shortfall of 29 second-level places.

A committee set up by Mr Ó Cathasaigh and parents has urged parents to lobby local politicians, including Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney, Ministers of State Sean Sherlock and Kathleen Lynch, and TDs Michael Creed, Áine Collins and Michael Moynihan.

Mr Ó Cathasaigh has also written to parents in the area, outlining the proposal.

He said: “The parents of Gaelscoil Uí Ríordáin can help the government focus on this issue, in the hope that with some planning now, our politicians can avert a looming gaelcholáiste places crisis.

“We hope this will create the momentum we need to get the campaign on track and to ensure the application will get the support it needs and deserves.”