Thirty schools across the city and county, including schools in Renmore, Claregalway, Oranmore, Moycullen, and Lackagh, are to get new buildings, while others are to be significantly renovated, under the Government's Five Year Schools Building Programme.
The funding, which was announced today by the Minister for Education, Jan O’Sullivan, will see new facilities for seven Galway schools in 2016, four in 2017, and eight in 2018. Under the programme, the primary schools for Renmore, Claregalway, Oranmore, Moycullen, and Lackagh, which have been operating out of "substandard prefabs", according to Labour Galway West TD Derek Nolan, will have proper facilities built.
Also getting new school buildings will be Knocknacarra Educate Together, Galway Steiner School, St Annin’s in Roscahill, and Rosedale Special School, which works with children with severe to profound intellectual disabilities. "These new facilities will offer a better environment for both children and staff," said Dep Nolan.
After many years in the pipeline, St Joseph’s Secondary School (aka 'The Bish' ) will also be provided with a new school building and better access to sporting facilities. "The Bish is simply too large for its current Nuns Island site and needs a new home," said Dep Nolan. "I look forward to supporting them by bringing their project forward."
Funding is also available for the new Our Lady’s Secondary School in the city centre. This school was formed following the merger of the both The Mercy and Presentation secondary schools. Clifden Community College has similarly been funded with similar smaller projects all over Galway.
Fine Gael TD for Galway West Seán Kyne also welcomed the development, noting that many of the schools included in the earlier years of the multi-annual plan are at advanced stages of planning and design, with some, such as Scoil Naisiunta Bhride in Lackage, having already obtained planning permission.
“The schools included in the latter half of the Programme, such as Scoil Mhuire in Moycullen and St Annin’s in Rosscahill, can now begin work on design and obtaining planning for the new buildings and facilities which will benefit communities across Galway" he said.
However, Dep Nolan was critical of the new programme, saying it was "disappointing" that the "need for a new second level school has not been identified". He said: "I had hoped such a decision would have allowed for the development of Galway’s first Educate Together secondary school to offer a multi-denominational choice at second level to the five Galway primary schools already in existence. This need for choice still remains. The Department itself has stated that this demographic pressure will be kept under review."
The Galway schools included in the Five Year Schools Building Programme are SN Bhride Lackagh, Turloughmore; SN Seosamh Naofa, Carrabane, Athenry; SN Muine Mhea, Monivea, Athenry; SN Cathair Geal; Scoil an Chroi Naofa, Ballinasloe; Gaelscoil Iarfhlatha, Community Centre, Sr an Easbaig, Tuam; Our Lady's College, Newtownsmith. Works on all these schools will be carried out or will be completed by the end of the year.
Works planned for 2017 are at Rosedale Special School, Renmore; Claregalway ETNS; and St Oliver's Special School, Tuam. Schools due for works in 2018 are Scoil Chroí Naofa, Athenry; Scoil Naomh Eanna, Bullaun, Loughrea; Gaelscoil Riada, Raithin, Baile Átha an Rí; Presentation College, Athenry; Colaiste Chroi Mhuire Gan Smál, An Spidéal; Coláiste Cholmcille, Indreabháin; Gairmscoil Mhuire, Athenry; and Coláiste an Eachraidh, Baile Átha an Rí.
The programme also includes schools due for works in 2019 and 2021: Scoil Iosaif Naofa and Scoil Mhuire in Oranmore; St Annin's, Rosscahill; Scoil Caitriona Senior and Junior Schools, Renmore; Scoil Mhuire, Moycullen; St Teresa's Special School, Ballinasloe; Knocknacarra Educate Together NS; Galway Steiner NS, Knocknacarra; Gort NS, Gort; and St Joseph's College, Nun's Island.