Coosan National School is unsafe and a threat to the health of the students and staff in attendance.
That was the message delivered by local Independent councillor Ailish McManus, at Monday’s meeting of the Athlone Municipal District.
Cllr McManus expressed her indignation regarding the news that Coosan NS has been left off the school’s building list this year. This is despite the fact that assurances had been given as early as March 2012, by the previous Government that a new school would be built in Coosan in 2015/2016.
On June 1, the board of management of the school received a letter from the Department of Education stating that the “existing contractual commitments for 2016 now fully account for the funding allocation available in 2016”, meaning Coosan would have to wait until next year at the earliest.
“This is nothing short of an absolute disgrace,” Cllr McManus said. “There are 406 children being educated in a building that is not fit for purpose. There are holes in buildings. The school spent €3,400 plus VAT last week to try and rectify an infestation of vermin in the building. Some of the floors in the school are subsiding probably due to dry rot.
“The principal is in a cramped office with hardly any room to move and devoid of any form of ventilation. He has been diagnosed with asthma very recently and his consultant has advised that it was due to dust mites at work. One of the prefabs in particular that houses senior infants, that is six- to seven-year-old children, is falling apart.
“The teachers and many of the children in the class have been diagnosed with asthma and absenteeism is at a very high level. These are dangerous conditions and no person, adult or child, should have to work or be educated in an environment like this in 2016. We say every child has a right to an education but we should add that every child has a right to an education in an environment conducive to that.”
Cllr McManus says Coosan NS is not conducive to learning, describing it as a “health and safety hazard” that “must be rectified as soon as possible”.
The council will now write to the Minister for Education, Richard Bruton, on the issue.