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New gaelscoil a step closer

September 10, 2014

Building of a new gaelscoil in a north Cork town is a step closer after it was announced that a site had been identified and approval had been given to transfer the land to the Department of Education.

Environment Minister Alan Kelly has approved the transfer of land at Duntahane, Fermoy, from the Housing Agency to the department, which is seen as a vital step towards building a new Gaelscoil de hÍde.

Last Friday, nearly 1,000 people took to the streets of the town to protest at the snail’s pace in building a replacement school for the current one which is archaic and totally overcrowded.

They finally lost patience after getting no news on a preferred site, despite the fact that the Department of Education had promised a new school back in 2011.

Minister Seán Sherlock said he had been in touch with Mr Kelly who had told him he had given his approval for the land transfer.

He said he was confident that the Department of Education would now move as quickly as possible.

“Bear in mind that site works have already taken place at Duntahane and that will be a factor in the speed of the next step of the process,” Mr Sherlock said.

School principal Seán MacGearailt said the news was welcome, although he would like to see a letter of confirmation sent to the board of management.

“We would now like to see the Department of Education fast-track this project. The department always said that the money was there for the new school. I would be hopeful that we will have a new building to go into by September 2015 at the latest. But sooner would be better,” he said.

There are 410 pupils enrolled in the school, almost twice what the capacity should be. Teachers and Sunday Game pundit Tomás Ó Sé, said conditions are so cramped that the animals at Fota Wildlife Park have more space than the pupils.

Cork County Council initially owned the land and had to transfer it to the Housing Agency before it could be transferred to the Department of Education.

Cllr Kevin O’Keeffe said claims that the council were slow to act on the transfer were wrong and that the local authority moved as quickly as it could.

Irish Examiner