Scoil an Chroi Naofa in Ballinasloe is in dire need of a new building according to a Galway county councillor.
Cllr Aisling Dolan says the school, which has been waiting almost a decade for a new school building since securing planning permission in 2011, is located in an area of extreme disadvantage on the Pobal Deprivation Index and the current building, which dates back to the 1960s, is experiencing serious heating and insulation problems.
The Fine Gael candidate for Roscommon-Galway said there are serious road safety concerns surrounding Scoil and Chroi Naofa in Ballinasloe with children as young as five crossing the main road to get to class in temporary facilities.
“The current enrolment is 280 pupils with a waiting list and children travel from all over East Galway, Roscommon and Westmeath to attend the school. Back in 2000, the boys’ and girls’ national schools in Ballinasloe amalgamated with the promise of a new school building at that time. Planning permission was granted in 2011 but no work was carried out.
“That planning permission was renewed in 2016, however it will expire at the end of next year, so it’s extremely urgent that the pupils and staff get a new school building as soon as possible,” she said.
“Scoil an Chroi Naofa has a wonderful team of staff and SNAs providing a vital Austistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD ) unit with increasing numbers seeking this support each year. Galway County Council is due to meet the design team this week to discuss how the plans can move foward.”
Cllr Dolan said she was seeking a meeting with her Fine Gael party colleague, Minister for Education and Skills, Joe McHugh to discuss how the project can be progressed in the most efficient way possible.
She continued; “It is estimated that €1 million is needed to cover the costs involved in the design phase. Children and staff have to endure terrible freezing and even dangerous conditions on a daily basis and the project has to proceed as a matter of urgency. I am seeking an urgent meeting with Minister McHugh to impress upon him the urgent need to expedite the building of a new school for Scoil an Chroi Naofa in East Galway before planning permission runs out.”