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Protest may not go ahead after breakthrough in gaelscoil row

September 5, 2014

It was unclear last night if a planned protest by up to 1,000 people would go ahead in Co Cork following news that there had been a breakthrough in a long-running saga over the building of a gaelscoil.

Protesters were expected to walk through the streets of Fermoy on Friday morning to highlight concerns over the lack of movement on a promise to acquire a suitable new home for Gaelscoil de hÍde.

Junior minister Sean Sherlock said he had been informed that the proposed new site had been fenced off and contracts have been exchanged between Cork County Council and a voluntary housing agency that presently owns the site.

Once the council has acquired the land, it will be in a position to pass it to the Department of Education.

Earlier Mr Sherlock said that the protest, planned for 11.30am, shows great community spirit and he has told parents of children attending the school “to use as many levers as possible” to ensure a replacement is built.

Teachers, pupils and parents have lost patience following promises that they would have a new school this year.

The TD said that a suitable site has been identified, but that it “has to go through a process of conveyance” and this needs to be speeded up.

“I know, for a fact, that the Department of Education is ready to move on this site, but it can not do so until it has title.”

He said it was up to Cork County Council to acquire the site from a voluntary housing agency in order for the Department of Education to proceed.

Before the last local elections, he said he’d advised parents that a new site had been identified and reiterated this was indeed the case.

“I am satisfied that I have acted with integrity in this process, in ensuring that the school will have a future on a new greenfield site. We have come a long way in this process.

“I understand the need to protest, but it is important to state that had it not been for my intervention, and this Government’s clear commitment to delivering on other new school projects and extensions in the Fermoy area, that the people of Fermoy would still be waiting.”

The protest will be led by former Kerry football player Tomás Ó Sé, who is a teacher at Gaelscoil de hÍde.

Irish Examiner