Limerick school facing closure could become centre of excellence for music

Nick Rabbitts


Nick Rabbitts

THE chief executive of the City VEC hopes in future, the St Enda’s site will bring more than 200 people a day to the area.

THE chief executive of the City VEC hopes in future, the St Enda’s site will bring more than 200 people a day to the area.

With St Enda’s Community School set to close in 2015, due to the declining population in the Southill area, Paul Patton has revealed plans for the site to be used as a centre for excellence for music.

At present, the City VEC is applying for a Music Education Partnership grant – and it is hoped that it can bring this to St Enda’s before 2015.

He also said the site will be used by both adults and youngsters as a community and sports hub for the southside, with the possibility of the Youthreach programme for early school leavers opening a third branch in the city.

The former sports building, housing the swimming pool, could also be demolished and replaced with a new sports hall, Mr Patton added.

After learning that the school is to wind down over the next three years, councillors have called for a rethink, suggesting that with the regeneration process, the population should again grow in Southill and its surrounds.

But Mr Patton rejected this, and said parents “are voting with their feet” in not sending their children to the school.

He said the decline in population at the school has nothing to do with the regeneration process - and the axe perhaps should have fallen sooner, with the school unable to offer all subjects.

But parents have not given up, and have confirmed they will appeal the decision, with the help of Mayor Gerry McLoughlin.

There are four strands to the Youthreach programme: the provision of adult education, youth education, community education and music education.

Speaking of the plans – subject to discussion with stakeholders and the Department of Education - Mr Patton said: “There are only 143 children in the school at the moment. Our plans will be to bring a couple of hundred students up there. It is going to totally reinvigorate the entire life of that education campus. We would hope to develop a sports and recreation hub which would be of benefit to the larger community.”

He said there is a strong possibility the Youthreach programme will open a southside branch on site.

Mr Patton said no final decision has yet been made on the former sports complex, which controversially shut early last year.

“We have to speak to regeneration, and the Department ... in terms of either demolishing the complex and rebuilding it, or demolishing part of it and refurbishing it. Something has to be done with it though, as it is becoming an eyesore,” he said.

On the closure, Mr Patton said there would be no job losses, saying in previous years, they have had to recruit people from as far away as Fedamore.

“In 2009, there were only 97 students in the school. Perhaps the decision to phase out the school should have been taken then,” he said.