Fianna Fáil TD for Cork South Central Michael McGrath has pressed the Minister for Education and Skills Richard Bruton in the Dáil on the urgent need to secure a permanent school building for Rochestown Educate Together National School.

Deputy McGrath raised the matter during a special Topical Issues debate in the Dáil this afternoon.

“Under the able leadership of Dr Alan Sheehan and his team, Rochestown Educate Together National School has gone from strength to strength since its establishment just three years ago. The school has grown rapidly in that time and the school will have 140 pupils for the new school year this coming September.

“Given the growth in the number of pupils, the school is going to have a split campus with some pupils being taught in the temporary accommodation at Douglas Hall AFC while others will be accommodated at Garryduff Sports Centre. This is far from ideal and raises real issues for the whole school community. However, all involved will make it work in the short term with the promised prize of a new school building on a permanent site very much in mind.

“In November 2015, the then Minister for Education committed that the new school building for Rochestown ETNS would move to construction in 2017. However, the department has yet to purchase a site, putting this timeline under real pressure. I emphasised the urgency of this matter with Minister Bruton in the Dáil and I called on the Department to proceed with the purchase of the site and the construction of the school without further delay.

“I also made the point that the Department should aim to co-locate the new building for Rochestown ETNS on the permanent site with the new second level Educate Together School which is opening in temporary accommodation this September.

“In response, Minister Bruton said that ‘a site option has been identified and this is being actively progressed’ and he stated his commitment to the project. He agreed to take a personal interest in the advancement of the project. I welcome the Minister’s response and I will maintain the pressure to ensure this project moves forward as quickly as possible.”