Gaelscoil de hÍde will finally get a proper school building with 16 classrooms, to be located in Oranmore, after county councillors granted outline permission for the development.
The decision was taken at Monday’s Galway County Council meeting. However in order to allow the new Gaelscoil to be built, councillors had to approve material contraventions to the Galway County Development Plan 2009 - 2015 and the Oranmore Local Area Plan 2006-2012.
The proposed school will have 16 classrooms, a general purpose room, ancillary accommodation, and a special needs unit with a two-class base and central activities space. Permission is also sought for external site works including on-site car parking, access roads, drop down area, ball courts, and site boundary treatments, and a new approach road to site.
The resolution to approve the material contravention was proposed by Fine Gael councillor Liam Carroll and seconded by his party colleague Jarlath McDonagh. It received the unequivocal support of all 25 councillors present in the chamber.
At the meeting Cllr Carroll outlined why permission should be granted to the school, despite requiring a material contravention of the two plans.
He said that since 1994 Gaelscoil de hÍde has shared the same half-acre site even though pupil numbers have increased by more than 300 per cent and approximately €1.5 million has been spent on renting pre-fab buildings.
Figures released at the end of 2010 show that the Department of Education is currently renting 1,744 pre-fab buildings nationally at an annual cost of €27 million.
“This is a scandalous situation,” said Cllr Carroll, “in the light of the fact that construction costs for permanent buildings have declined by over 40 per cent in the last three years.”
Cllr Carroll is now calling on the Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn to “expedite the construction for the new Gaelscoil”.
He said: “When constructed the new school will form the final piece of a jig-saw which will see a unique educational and sports campus located in the centre of the