The pressure on some schools, bursting at the seams with increasing enrollment numbers and inadequate facilities, is set to be alleviated quite considerably with the announcement this week that Galway is benefit from the construction of new school buildings as well as schools receiving long-awaited extensions and refurbishments.
Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn this week announced the details of the 56 school building projects which are to go ahead country-wide next year at a cost of €430 million. This is the first phase of a five year €2 billion plan which is hoped will see the construction and extension of more schools by 2017. It is also hoped that the plan will go some way in ending frustration and waiting experienced by schools, many of which have been caught up in the application process for years.
Now seeing the light at the end of a very long tunnel are: Scoil Náisiúnta Uachtar Árd in Oughterard which is to receive a new school, Tirellan Heights national school in Headford Road - extension/refurbishment - and post-primary school Coláiste Iognáid SJ, Bothar na Mara - extension/refurbishment. Also included in the school building projects for 2012 is a public-private partnership in Doughiska which is to receive a new primary and post-primary school.
Welcoming the announcement that a new school in Oughterard is to be constructed was Galway West Deputy Seán Kyne who said: “This funding is very welcome and will provide a new facility for Oughterard as the existing boys’ and girls’ national schools are amalgamated to form a new primary school. Construction will begin in the New Year and will provide Oughterard with a top class school facility for the years ahead.
“It demonstrates that despite the serious financial and economic challenges facing our country, the Government is committed to investing in education to cater for our growing population and the future educational needs.”
Speaking this week, Senator Fidelma Healy Eames said that the new schools and extensions for Galway city and Oughterard will provide a significant benefit for parents, children, and staff in the schools.
“Today’s announcement bears out the Government’s commitment in the recent Budget to maintain the primary school pupil-teacher ratio despite the very challenging economic circumstances we find ourselves in. Every parent wants to give their children the best possible start in life and I think these announcements will be welcomed by parents and pupils in the areas which are to benefit.”
Senator Healy Eames concluded: “Total enrolment in both primary and post-primary schools is expected to grow by around 70,000 between now and 2018 – by over 45,000 at primary level and 25,000 at post primary. Enrolment will continue to rise at post-primary level to the year 2024 at least. Our goal is to ensure that every child growing up in Ireland will have access to a school place and ideally, a space that makes learning more appealing