I’ve been contacted by a number of people in recent weeks regarding the lack of progress on the gym and 10 classroom extension for Castleknock Community College (CCC). I wrote to the Minister for Education, enquiring about the provision of funding, and I know the response (see below) will be deeply disappointing for students and parents alike.
The Minister would appear to have absolutely no plan to progress the extension. In his response to me, Ruairi Quinn stated that CCC was not included on the Department of Education’s 5 year building programme due to the “… need to prioritise the limited funding available for the provision of additional school accommodation to meet increasing demographic requirement”.
CCC is an extremely large school with over 1,000 pupils. A large proportion of classes have had to be held in temporary classrooms for a number of years. When the school increased its capacity to address the lack of second level places in the Carpenterstown and Castleknock area, it was understood that the necessary facilities would be provided to accommodate these extra students. As such, CCC has already acted to meet the increased demographic requirements in the area, and should be recognised as having done so.
Planning permission was first applied for the extension in late 2010 and was granted on 10th October 2011. However, the project still remains in the pre-tender stage and the Minister has stated that it is not possible to include this school on the current 5 year building programme. There is no indication of any timeline for when funding may be available.
In recent months, the Government has stated that the achievement of a deal on the Promissory Note has given the State some flexibility regarding our financial position. Surely, an excellent use for the money saved would be to invest it in necessary school infrastructure across the country. A well educated workforce will be the device that lifts Ireland’s economy out of the recession. Students and parents should be entitled to expect that this education will be provided in buildings of a reasonable standard.
I will continue to work with the CCC Parents Association on this issue.