Fianna Fáil TD for Offaly Barry Cowen TD has welcomed the confirmation that two schools in Edenderry are set to be allowed to operate on a co-ed basis.

Deputy Cowen made the comments after the Minister for Education Richard Bruton wrote to him to confirm that St Mary’s Primary School and Scoil Muire Banrion, Edenddery are to be allowed act in a co-ed capacity.

Deputy Cowen said, “Both of these schools have made an application with the Department of Education to act in a co-ed capacity in the best interests of their pupils. The application was first made in 2014 but unfortunately the Government was slow to deal with the issue.

“Last year I met with school management who stressed the need to finish this process as soon as possible. Following on from this I wrote to Minster Richard Bruton to request a meeting to discuss the issue and highlight the need for progress to be made. At the meeting I emphasised that it is not acceptable to expect both schools to wait for years before final approval is given to change their organisation structure. This is something which both schools want and parents are supportive of the stance they have taken.

“Following on from this meeting Minister Bruton wrote to me to confirm that his Department is to allow this proposal to proceed. I welcome this development as it will allow both schools to compete on a level playing field with other schools in the area. It is in the best interests of the local community. I will be monitoring this issue in the coming months to ensure progress is made,” concluded Deputy Cowen.