Local Fianna Fáil TD, Darragh O’Brien has said that the explanation provided by the Minister for Education as to why the proposed new post primary school in Malahide/Portmarnock is deferred is an insult to all those who have long campaigned for it’s development.
In information received by the Deputy through a tabled Parliamentary Question, the Minister for Education has confirmed that the school which was scheduled to open this September in Malahide/Portmarnock will now not open until at earliest, September 2018.
Deputy O’Brien said, “The provision of a new secondary school for the Malahide/Portmarnock was originally announced over two years ago. Throughout this time,I have raised the urgent necessity for the provision of this secondary school and others including a post-primary school in Swords.
“The Government has flipped flopped on its explanation for yet again deferring the schools development by 15 months. The Minister previously confirmed to me that they would more likely open the school a full 12 months behind schedule due to a lack of suitable site but now it’s claimed that this decision to defer was reached by the patron body “in the best interests.”
“This is simply not the case. From my engagement with those involved locally, the delay in fact lay the Department’s inability to acquire a suitable site for this school. It seems the Minister is attempting to offload any responsibility for this unacceptable delay in development.
He added, “The surge in population in the North County in recent years has exacerbated the chronic shortage of school places. Given Fingal is a particularly young population combined with high birth rates, it can only be expected that the current lack of sufficient capacity in our schools will continue to worsen and come under significant pressure.
“If decisive action is not taken by the Department very soon, pupil enrollments in both primary and secondary schools across Fingal will be unable to meet demand in the next school year.
He concluded, “Parents are becoming increasingly fearful about whether there will be a school place for their children come September; this update of a further delay through no fault of those relentlessly campaigning for the development, will now add more stress.”