Fianna Fáil TD for Donegal Charlie McConalogue has called on the Government to end its policy of neglect and spin with regard to the Buncrana three school campus. He says a site must be secured without delay so that the project can be progressed.
“The proposed three school Crana College campus will be home to Crana College secondary school, which has more than 500 students; Buncrana Gaelscoil, which was established in 1999; and the second level Gaelcolaiste Coláiste Chineál Eoghain, which is currently housed in Tullyarvan Mill”, said Deputy McConalogue.
“Many students in Crana College are being taught in prefabs, while Buncrana Gaelscoil, which has almost 180 students, is using Buncrana Youth Club, as its school building.
“Despite the project being on the agenda for over ten years now, the Government has failed to prioritise the purchase of a site meaning that the project is at a standstill. In response to repeated representations, there has been a consistent effort by the Government to claim that progress was being made, when it is clear that very little has been happening. In fact, there are times when it appears as if the project has been going backwards.
“Four years ago the Government, along with Donegal Education and Training Board, identified a preferred site list for the campus. However, in 2014 it decided to begin the process again – this time asking Donegal County Council to carry out the assessment. As a result, the project has taken almost two years to get back to the same stage it was at in 2013.
“Meanwhile students, teachers, parents and local school management have been left in the frustrating position where they have had to get by on a day to day basis in increasingly unsuitable and cramped accommodation.
“In recent days, we have seen the Government attempt to spin this lack of progress – with Minister Joe McHugh announcing that he has now asked the Minister for Education to meet with school representatives. Minister McHugh has conveniently ignored the fact that Donegal ETB, following a motion from my colleague Cllr Rena Donaghey, had asked for a meeting between the Minister and local school representatives in May.
“I am concerned that this meeting will not now take place until September or later and I have written to Minister Bruton to outline the frustration among the local communities at the lack of progress. I have called on him to facilitate a meeting without delay.
“The students, teachers, parents and management of the three schools deserve more than spin from this Government and it is high time that a site for the three school campus is identified and progressed”, concluded Deputy McConalogue.