TD seeks answers from Minister over closure of Limerick school

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

HOUSING Minister Jan O’Sullivan is seeking answers from Education Minister Ruairi Quinn over the closure of St Enda’s community school.

HOUSING Minister Jan O’Sullivan is seeking answers from Education Minister Ruairi Quinn over the closure of St Enda’s community school.

She wants him to ensure the future plans for the campus on the southside comes under the regeneration scheme.

She was speaking after a meeting at the school on Tuesday night, in which parents voiced their anger over the closure of the school, which has just shy of 130 students.

Last week, it was announced the Kilmallock Road school would be wound down over the next three years, with the City VEC blaming a decline in the population of the area.

The news was greeted by opposition, with parents likely to appeal the decision.

But Ms O’Sullivan has conceded that the closure is unlikely to be reversed.

She said her main concern is for the placement of the children who will be affected.

“The children who won’t be finishing out their education should get a guarantee of an appropriate place in another school. The second issue is in relation to the supports because they may have specific learning difficulties,” she said.

St Enda’s school is designated as DEIS, which means that it gets additional resources, as many of its students have learning difficulties.

Parents have argued this is a major reason why the school - which employs 30 people - should remain open.

Ms O’Sullivan urged her Labour colleague Mr Quinn to ensure the massive campus on the southside - which also includes a disused swimming pool - be developed correctly.

“I want to ensure there is engagement with people locally, with the authorities, and also with the regeneration bodies. I am anxious to ensure this campus is part of the regeneration of the Southill area,” she said, “I will be talking to him to see if there are any developments on it. We need to give parents reassurance.”

Fellow Limerick City TD Kieran O’Donnell of Fine Gael acknowledged the situation is difficult.

But he urged the government to find a solution which is correct for everyone.

City VEC chief executive Paul Patton has mooted a number of future uses for the St Enda’s campus.

These include as a centre of excellence for music, for which applications for grants are under way, as well as a community and sporting hub.