Offaly TD 'concerned' about government's locations for 42 new schools
Offaly TD Carol Nolan has responded to the recent School Building Plan announced by the Minister for Education Richard Bruton which sets out proposals for more than forty new schools, the majority of which are proposed for the greater Dublin area.
“It is most concerning,” said Deputy Nolan, “that of the forty two locations published; only five are located outside of the Dublin commuter belt, and they will be located in Cork, Galway and Kilkenny."
"Whilst I welcome investment in new schools, I am deeply concerned that this saturation of investment in urban centres will divert resources away from rural education."
"I will be seeking assurances from the Minister that this large-scale building programme, will in no way impede rural school building projects which are either at planning or early development stage, including those within the constituency," Carol continued.
"The new building programme with capacity for 20,000 pupils across 26 new Primary and 16 new Secondary schools by 2022, has also drawn criticism from sources within the greater Dublin area, which identifies some locations as low-density / high-income suburbs, whilst some less affluent high density areas have been overlooked entirely," Nolan claimed.
“Equality of access to education for all children in both rural and urban Ireland and across all socio-economic backgrounds, is a fundamental obligation of any progressive society."
"I will be asking the Minister what strategy the Department has in place to staff these new schools given that Dublin is already suffering a chronic teacher shortage.”
“It is evident that a large scale building programme such as this is a response to inadequate Government planning not a consequence of good planning,” Carol concluded.
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