Deputy Charlie McConalogue has strongly welcomed the unanimous decision of Donegal ETB members to keep Gaelcholaiste Chineal Eoghain in Buncrana open, but says the decision must be underpinned with a joint plan from Donegal ETB and the Department of Education to support the school into the future.
Deputy McConalogue commented, “The decision to keep Gaelcholaiste Chineal Eoghain open recognises the demand for a second level Gaelsccoil in Inishowen and is a victory for the parents and local community who successfully campaigned to get the initial decision for the school to be closed overturned. Tremendous effort and resources have been invested in the school in recent years and any closure would have seen that work wasted.
“It is now important that Donegal ETB and the Department of Education work together to put a plan in place that will see the school expand through increased enrolments in order to secure its position into the future.
“This requires an immediate action plan by Donegal ETB to address low enrolment numbers and restore confidence in the future of the school. The Department of Education must also step up its effort by committing to providing the school with recognition for a number of years, rather than the one year temporary rolling recognition, which has contributed to the erosion of confidence about the school’s future.
“It is also crucial that the Department of Education now moves to secure a site for the development of a three school campus in Buncrana, which will see Colaiste Chineal Eoghain, Crana College and Gaelscoil Bhun Cranncha built in the one location. Donegal County Council has delivered a report to the Department of Education outlining a number of options in recent days and it is crucial that the Department doesn’t delay on the purchase of a site.
“I will be pressing the Minister for Education directly on these issues and will be working closely with my party colleague and ETB member Cllr Rena Donaghey and all public representatives to ensure that Colaiste Chineal Eoghain gets the support it needs to succeed”.