Local Fine Gael Senator, Aisling Dolan, has welcomed confirmation that a site has been identified and secured at Parkmore, Creagh, for the development of new permanent accommodation for the staff and students of St Teresa’s Special School in Ballinasloe.
Accommodating students from the Midlands region, East Galway and South Roscommon, the new location is in close proximity to the existing school at Ballinasloe Area Community Development in Parkmore.
“This is phenomenal news especially after a 10 year wait and is a tribute to the commitment and vision of Principal Anita O’Reilly, Vice Principal Geraldine Clarke, the board of management, staff and parents. It will mean a permanent special school in our area and this is just the first step towards a new school over the next number of years.
“I raised the topic of capacity in Ballinasloe for children with special needs on a number of occasions in the Seanad. Thank you to Minister Norma Foley and Minister Josepha Madigan for all their support here and the staff of the Department of Education. Minister Madigan had the opportunity to visit the school last week and meet children along with a tour of the school. It was a great experience to see the wonderful artwork in each classroom and the garden play areas.
“Additional accommodation of two classrooms has recently been approved which will mean space for 10 students this September. In total there will be 36 students starting in St Teresa’s Special School at the start of the new term in September. The school is at capacity and really was in dire need of more space for children.
“We are so fortunate to have St Teresa’s Special school here in Ballinasloe for children with complex needs as there are only 126 schools of such status within the country.
“This is a landmark day for the parents of children with complex needs in the Midlands region, East Galway and South Roscommon,” Senator Dolan stated.
Principal Anita O’Reilly acknowledged that the need was great to afford students the education which they deserve.
“We are delighted to welcome the news from the Department of Education of a new site for our school here in Ballinasloe. St Teresa’s Special School has grown steadily over the years. We need a new school to give our students the education they deserve.
“Our board of management, staff, parents and friends who have supported us every step of the way will be so pleased with the announcement. We all need to press on now and make this school a reality,” Ms O’Reilly emphasised.