Progress on the Cloonakilla NS project will be dependent on additional funds becoming available on Budget Day, according to Deputy Denis Naughten, who says he is disappointed with the news.
Responding to a question from Deputy Denis Naughten, Education Minister Jan O’Sullivan said the project is in a position to progress should funds become available in the upcoming Budget.
Minister O’Sullivan is due to visit the school today (Thursday ).
“Whilst it is not possible to progress all projects within the Department’s building programme to construction concurrently due to competing demands on my Department’s capital budget, the project in question is now well placed to progress to tender and construction in the event that further funding becomes available to my Department in the future,” said Minister O’Sullivan.
Commenting on the Minister’s response, Deputy Naughten said: “It is disappointing that the Minister is kicking this decision beyond by-election polling day, and as a result pupils and teachers will have to wait to see if money will be provided for school building projects on Budget Day on October 14.”
He pointed out that it is now costing over €100,000 per year to rent prefabs, when “money which would be far better spent on servicing a loan for a new school”.
The school’s catchment population has increased by nearly 40 per cent between censuses and the school population has trebled in the last nine years, he added.
“The school services the Monksland/ Bealnamullia area, one of the fastest growing communities in the country outside of a major city, and further pressure will be put on the existing school facilities unless funding is made available in the current year.”