Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan Niamh Smyth has accused the Education Minister of stalling on the construction of a new school building for children and teenagers with severe or profound learning disabilities, moderate or multiple learning disabilities and for pupils with autism.
The Holy Family School in Cootehill secured funding for a new school building back in 2015 but construction has yet to begin, and there are now fears that the project may not get underway until next year.
Deputy Smyth raised the issue in the Dáil this week.
“Five weeks ago, I along with my Oireachtas colleagues met with the parents, staff and Board of Management of the Holy Family School to discuss the situation at the school. There are 160 pupils attending the school, but they are being taught in some of the most appalling conditions I have ever witnessed. Some students are being taught in a converted storage space while others are having classes in hallways. To say that the facility is falling apart is an understatement”, said Deputy Smyth.
“I raised the dire situation at the Holy Family School with the Tánaiste in the Dáil this week. The Programme for Partnership Government claims that “Education is the key to giving every child an equal opportunity in life” and it commits to examining “the adequacy of current special education access and funding provision”. The building and facilities at the Holy Family School fall well short of adequate and it is time for the Government to see its commitments through.
“The students attending the Holy Family School are some of the most vulnerable in our society and they are being denied a proper, fit-for-purpose educational facility. I am extremely frustrated that neither the Tánaiste nor the Minister for Education’s responded to my question in the Dáil. This is not good enough, and I will be following up with other questions over the coming days”.