Minister sent letter on ‘urgent need’ for a secondary school

By Mary Dennehy

SOUTH Dublin County Council is writing to the Minister for Education to convey the ‘urgent need’ for a secondary school in Citywest, which will have close to 1,900 children attending the area’s four national schools by 2019.

In recent years, three new primary schools have opened in the area, Citywest Educate Together, the Citywest and Saggart Community National School (formerly Scoil Niamh) and Scoil Aoife Community National School.

Scoil Aoife 02

The schools were introduced into the area due to a population explosion and a growing demand for school places, with the three new schools joining St Mary’s National School in Saggart in catering to the diverse and vibrant population now based in the Citywest and Saggart community.

However, while families welcomed the new national schools, they have raised concerns over the absence of a secondary school – with post-primary students currently living in the area forced to leave their community for second level education.

As reported on in The Echo some 18 months ago, a campaign for a secondary school has been initiated by parents in the area, ahead of Citywest Educate Together and Citywest and Saggart CNS both reaching sixth class by 2019.

Scoil Aoife, which only opened in 2014, will expand up to sixth-class level in 2021.

In council chambers this week, Tallaght South councillor Martina Genockey (Labour Party) lodged a motion seeking support for the provision of a second-level school in Citywest and that the council writes to the Minister for Education to ‘express this support and convey the urgent need’ for a secondary school in the area.

Cllr Genockey’s motion was passed in council chambers, with a letter now being sent to the Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton TD.

“I raised it because it has gone down on the agenda a little bit,” Cllr Genockey said.

“I spoke with parents and thought it was important to bring the need for a secondary school onto the agenda again

. . . and I felt it was time to write to the Minister to see where it’s at.”

She added: “It was in the Development Plan that there was a need for a secondary school in the area . . . but it has to happen now.

“There is still time to get a secondary school built [before children start leaving primary schools in the area] but it needs to get going urgently.

“We don’t want to have a situation like Kingswood where residents were fighting for a secondary school for years – we’ve gone past that.

“A secondary school is needed and should be provided, so we don’t have local kids travelling out of the area for secondary school.”

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