Clare schools have been forgotten by Fianna Fáil and the Green Party.
I have been making representations on behalf of many Clare schools which find themselves in difficulty such as Quin’s Scoil na Mainistreach, Knockanean NS, Sixmilebridge NS and Ennis Christian Brothers Primary School.
The announcement of the 2010 schools building programme highlights the extent to which County Clare schools have been abandoned by Fianna Fáil. For example in Quin’s Scoil na Mainistreach, there is a crisis developing in relation to space. There has been a population explosion in Quin village in recent times. Not for the first time, there is a promise that a technical visit by the Department of Education will take place, yet at this point, the school needs to be moved to tender and construction phase.
Knockanean National School have made an application for an extension and have put forward an imaginative proposal to the Department of Education but again there is no mention of any movement in the 2010 programme.
In fact, there are no new builds for schools in County Clare for 2010. This is inexcusable. We know that nationwide, in 2009 the school building programme contained promises for 78 projects. However, by December only seven of these projects
had actually been completed and 50 of the 78 were stuck in planning limbo. Alongside this, last year the number of new classrooms built in the country fell sharply by 40% with 614 built in comparison to 1,000 in 2008.
Many areas of County Clare, such as Quin, Sixmilebridge and Ennis, have witnessed population booms over the past decade yet government has failed to keep apace with fundamental infrastructural needs such as primary schools. At the present time, construction prices are at an all-time low. We need to be taking advantage of the wonderful value for money . It makes sense to be investing in the future now. Such investments now would also provide badly needed employment for construction workers.
The bottom line here is that many schools in County Clare are in dire need of investment, it’s outrageous that the Government has chosen to ignore us yet again.