VEC to be patron of new Claregalway secondary school
By Martina Nee
County Galway Vocational Education Committee has been confirmed as the patron of a new second-level school in Claregalway, a move which has been broadly welcomed by public representatives and parents, who see this as vital to protecting the future of education in the area.
Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairí Quinn, yesterday outlined his decisions on the patronage of a number of new post-primary schools across the country which are to be established in 2013 and 2014. County Galway VEC was selected to take over patronage of a new Claregalway school which is hoped will ensure that up to 1,000 school places will eventually be made available and that more education choices will be opened up to parents who, along with local representatives, have been campaigning for many years for a new school to be made available. It is understood that the new school will be opened in September 2013 and housed in temporary accommodation while a permanent site is being selected, with construction due to begin in 2014/2015.
Welcoming the news Fine Gael senator for Galway West Fidelma Healy Eames described the announcement as a “significant step in ensuring that the school can open in September 2013”, and commended County Galway VEC for its unwavering commitment to the project.
“I am delighted for the whole school community, in particular the hard working organising committee and the parents who are waiting for the school places for their children. I congratulate County Galway VEC which has shown unstinting commitment to this project from the start. As a former County Galway VEC chair, I recall our initiating the case for a new second level school as far back as 2005/2006.
“There have been many people involved in bringing the school project to this stage. I want to note my thanks to the VEC committee and the CEO, Joe McDonagh, for working to bring this project forward. The next step will be securing the site and the construction of the school,” said Senator Healy Eames.
Also welcoming the announcement yesterday was Galway West Labour TD Derek Nolan who added that he is confident County Galway VEC “will push and develop this project to ensure it is completed quickly”.
Deputy Nolan further explained that the facility is vital for the educational needs of children in Claregalway. “There are approximately 1,700 children attending primary schools in Claregalway and the surrounding areas who will require a secondary school place near their home when they come of age. Without this new school pressure to secure a secondary school place would be immense as the teenage population grows.
“The campaign for building a community college in Claregalway has been gathering momentum for several years, and it is expected that the school will eventually cater for 850 to 1,000 students in an area, which has seen rapid population growth. Minister Quinn has said his Department is still working with Galway County Council to identify and acquire a suitable site for the new school building in Claregalway. Once a suitable site has been identified and acquired, work will proceed on the permanent school building in 2014/15.”