Concerns over plans for new Limerick school

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

A NEW school planned for Mungret college could have a devastating impact on student numbers in the city, councillors have warned.

A NEW school planned for Mungret college could have a devastating impact on student numbers in the city, councillors have warned.

The Department of Education plans to build a new primary school in Mungret by 2015 - but members of the City’s vocational educational committee (VEC) are against the idea.

Labour councillor Joe Leddin predicated if this went ahead, it could “kill off” some of the city’s schools, “which are operating at between 50 and 60% capacity if that.”

Independent councillor John Gilligan said the Department of Education and Skills should look to invest in existing schools in the city area, before building new ones.

“It is going to have to be looked at, particularly at a time when the department’s budget is being cut back. The department has invested large sums of money in providing facilities which will only lead to the closure of others. That does not make economic sense. There must be a more coordinated role from the Department of Education. Instead of building new schools, perhaps they should investing more money in existing ones which could take up the slack,” he told the Limerick Leader.

Meanwhile, there were calls to build a permanent home for Gaelcholaiste Luimnigh in Sir Harry’s Mall.

Since opening in 2006, the school has rented offices from the private market, in buildings designed for offices.

Fianna Fail councillor Kieran O’Hanlon told the meeting: “We need to be asking ourselves if we are wasting money by renting accommodation when we should have a purpose-built school. There is plenty of land available that a new Gaelcholaiste could be built on.”

Cllr Gilligan added the building is “not suitable for long term, giving the numbers and the proposed numbers. It does not have a recognised playground, or a sports hall. There are lots of things lacking there which a modern school needs.”

Cllr Joe Leddin, Labour, added: “This school is approaching 400 students, and it in a building which is not designed a post-primary school. We need to be cognisant of when we are going to need to look at relocation.”