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Huge protest expected in Fermoy over lack of progress on new gaelscoil

September 5, 2014

A North Cork community will be out in force this morning to demand that the Government presses on with plans to provide a new facility for an overcrowded school in their town.

Up to 1,000 people are expected to march at 11.30am from the gates of Gaelscoil de hÍde, Fermoy, into the centre of the town in protest at the lack of progress developing a new primary school building.

Gaelscoil de hÍde principal, Seán Mac Gearailt, said that contrary to reports suggesting a breakthrough had been reached in the ongoing saga, the protest will still go ahead. Mr Mac Gearailt said that the last communication received by the school’s Board of Management from the Department of Education was a July letter saying a preferred site for the new school had been selected.

“The march is going ahead,” Mr Mac Gearailt confirmed. “The last we were told is that a preferred site had been selected. You cannot get planning permission on a preferred site.

“The bottom line is that, as far as we know, the Department of Education does not own a site in Fermoy for a new building for the Gaelscoil,” he said.

Mr Mac Gearailt said that while both local and national politicians “of all colours” have lobbied in support of a new building, there has been a lack in transparency in how the proposed new school development is progressing.

“We are being kept in the dark,” he said.

Meanwhile parents in Ballincollig are similarly fearful that new school facilities are required to cater for the hundreds of children from the area who are due to enter secondary school in the coming years.

A committee of parents from Gaelscoil Uí Riordáin primary school in Ballincollig has lodged a formal application with the Department of Education calling for the construction of a new, fully independent, 800-place, second-level gaelcholáiste in the town.

The campaign was launched following a public meeting in May at the gaelscoil, one of Ireland’s largest where pupil numbers will break the 600-barrier in September, to discuss the immediate lack of second level, all-Irish education places in the town.

The meeting was told that the boards of management of Choláiste Choilm and Gaelcholáiste Choilm adopted a new admissions policy earlier this year.

For the first time, pupils graduating from Gaelscoil Uí Ríordáin this year are not guaranteed a place in Gaelcholáiste Choilm’s Aonad.

Irish Examiner