Delay in amalgamating Limerick schools is raised in the Dail

OVER a decade after three County Limerick schools decided to amalgamate the building project has been delayed further.

OVER a decade after three County Limerick schools decided to amalgamate the building project has been delayed further.

Work was expected to commence on the state of the art secondary school in Doon in April to be ready for September 2013.

Planning permission was granted in January and a preferred tenderer announced but to date the site in Kilmoylan has lain empty. The three schools are St Fintan’s CBS and St Joseph’s Secondary Schools, Doon and St Michael’s in Cappamore.

Now parents, particularly 2013/14 Leaving Cert students, are worried how the delay will affect their sons and daughters. Deputy Niall Collins has received many calls from concerned parents and raised the matter in the Dail.

He asked Minister for Education, Ruairi Quinn the reason for the delay in allocation of funding and when the project will commence.

Minister Quinn said the National Development Finance Agency is currently involved with the preferred bidder to finalise the deal.

“Once these negotiations are successfully concluded it is anticipated that a contract will be awarded for the construction of the entire eight bundles including the school referred to by the Deputy,” said the Minister.

Mr Collins said the matter had been dragging on too long and needed to be resolved.

“Leaving Cert is stressful enough without having to move schools in the middle of it due to the delay,” said Mr Collins.

Principal of St Fintan’s CBS, Eddie Bourke, said they contacted the Department and were told due to the delay they are now looking at November 2013 or January 2014.

“More than likely January 2014. We expected that building would commence in April and the new school would be ready for September 2014. There was a hold up for planning permission for one of the other schools in the bundle of eight which has now been sorted. The schools will amalgamate in September regardless and move in to the new building when it is ready, which will hopefully be January 2014,” said Mr Bourke, who along with the other principals, John Kinsella and Michael O’Connor, and staff have laid all the groundwork for the amalgamation.

All new students to the three schools in September will wear the uniform of the new school called - Scoil na Trionóide Naofa. Book lists have been co-ordinated and the senior cycle will be the same also.

“It will be across all subjects so when we go in to the new school the students going in to Leaving Cert will have the same teachers all the way through. That is important, you don’t want disruption in Leaving Cert year,” said Mr Bourke.

Building of the school is expected to last 13/14 months.