THE announcement of two new schools is “massive” news for Limerick’s two largest suburbs, a local councillor has said.
Education Minister Jan O’Sullivan this week confirmed the long-awaited secondary school for the Mungret/Dooradoyle area, a project to be built on the site of Mungret College. This will be ready to welcome its first students by 2017, albeit in temporary accommodation.
And in a less expected move, the Labour TD also confirmed a new post-primary school for the Castletroy/Monaleen area, set to open by 2018 at a yet-to-be-decided location.
Ms O’Sullivan has also announced a school refurbishment programme, in what has been hailed as “the biggest ever schools projects delivery for Limerick” by City East councillor Elena Secas.
The news has been largely welcomed by Limerick’s local representatives, and it will come as a relief to parents who may have been forced to send their children out to Croom and Pallaskenry due to a lack of space in Castletroy College and the Crescent College Comprehensive respectively.
Raheen-based councillor Daniel Butler said the lack of a secondary school west of the city was the “number one issue” on the doors during the local election campaign.
He said: “It is huge news for young families. I was at a parent’s council meeting in my own child’s primary school, St Nessan’s National School. Across the board, people were just absolutely delighted and counting the years to see if their kids would be of the age to get in.”
He expressed concern that perhaps 600 people would not be enough to serve Raheen’s growing population.
Cllr James Collins had the same reservations, and pointed out that the council has made Mungret College available to the Department of Education to build.
“This should have happened a long time ago. It is no surprise things get announced in the run up to a general election. We are pushing to ensure this is not just an election promise,”
Across the other side of the city, Castletroy College principal Padraig Flanagan has no doubt the new school will “ease the burden” on his 1,200-student school.
“We have a very transparent enrolment system, which takes people living and educated locally. On that basis, we are just about able to meet the demand. But in three to four years time, we might not be able to.”
Cllr Kieran O’Hanlon, who sits on the school’s board of management, hopes the new secondary school for the Castletroy area is close to the city.
In fact, he suggested the Parkway Valley/Horizon Mall site, if this did not go ahead.