Local Fianna Fáil TD, Darragh O’Brien has said that the already over-subscribed secondary schools in Dublin Fingal look likely to experience further pressure in the forthcoming school term.
In information received by the Deputy through a tabled Parliamentary Question, the Minister for Education has confirmed that both proposed developments promised by Government in Malahide/Portmarnock and Swords are yet to even begin works.
Commenting on the issue Deputy O’Brien said, “The provision of a new secondary school for the Malahide/Portmarnock and Swords areas of County Dublin were announced in November 2015. Over the past 18 months, I have continually raised the urgent necessity for the provision of these secondary school places in the North County.
“The idea that either of these schools will open as scheduled in September 2017, has now become farcical given the details the Minister has provided to me. In fact, while the lack of sufficient capacity in our schools continues to grow, no progress has been made in identifying or acquiring sites to go ahead with construction.
“It appears that the Minister and his Department are more concerned with finding “suitable interim accommodation” for pupils, rather than focusing on moving forward to complete the permanent construction.
“Fingal is the fastest-growing area in the country and the number of people living in the area has increased by 8pc in the past five years. This rise in population has exacerbated the chronic shortage of school places in the North County.
“It’s important to recognise too that pupil enrollments at both primary and secondary levels are expected to increase, particularly in light of the high birth rates in recent years. This will place significant pressure on our education system and on the current teacher supply unless decisive action is taken by Government.
“Parents are becoming increasingly anxious about whether there will be a place for their children come September. This process has been ongoing for some time, and it’s high time the Minister takes the initiative to put parent’s minds at ease,” concluded Deputy O’Brien.