Fianna Fáil Seanad Spokesperson on Justice, Children and Youth Affairs, Senator Lorraine Clifford-Lee has said the Department of Justice must provide a definitive timeline for building works which urgently need to be carried out at St Molaga’s Senior National School, Balbriggan.

The Donabate based Senator raised the matter directly with the Minister for Education, Richard Bruton during debate in Seanad Éireann earlier this afternoon.

Speaking in the Seanad, Senator Clifford-Lee said, “As it stands, there are 463 pupils in St Molaga’s but this number is steadily increasing as more and more young families move to Balbriggan.

“The current situation is not just a capacity issue; suitable accommodation is needed to ensure that the great work of teachers in the school can continue in a safe and comfortable teaching and learning environment.

“In order for staff and management to cope with this growth, progress must be made on upgrading the school building.

“Despite being on the major school building list for 2019-2021, St Molaga’s have had to apply for additional prefab accommodation in an effort to deal with demand and due to the inaction in relation to the required extension.

“I am concerned however, that over half of St Molaga’s pupils are already being educated in unsuitable prefab classrooms. In the long-term these are wholly unsatisfactory conditions for learning.

“I understand that the Department have been in touch with the school’s principal, Pauline Costello and have agreed to meet with management on February 7th.

Clifford-Lee added, “This essential building work at St Molaga’s cannot be pushed any further down the line and the Minister needs to allocate a design team to this project so that a definitive timeline for construction can be established. This is a top priority in the town of Balbriggan and surrounding areas.

She concluded, “The Minister has confirmed to me today that a project brief is nearing completion. It is critical to acknowledge the major growth in our area and this essential project will go some way towards acknowledging the subsequent demand on our schools.”