In an effort to progress 'its long overdue new school', Westport’s Holy Trinity National School has launched an online petition 'calling on the Minister for Education to find a proper site for the recently established Educate Together National School, and to stop trying to squeeze the Educate Together school onto the children’s play area of the Holy Trinity site'.
Holy Trinity stated it is asking for 'a fair and proper site to be allocated to the newly formed, seven-pupil, Educate Together NS, so that work can begin on the new Holy Trinity school building', adding that 'the Department of Education’s efforts to force a second school onto the Holy Trinity NS site has caused an additional delay on the already long delayed new Holy Trinity NS project'.
Eoin Holmes, Chair of the Holy Trinity NS Building Committee said: "The attempt by the Department of Education to stuff two schools onto our site, which, by the way, is actually too small for one school, is further delaying the building of our badly needed new school.
"The new school is already two years behind schedule. It’s not fair on our children. It’s not fair to the children of Educate Together. They, like our kids, must have a proper sized site for their new school, somewhere in Westport.
"For more than 230 years Holy Trinity NS has educated the children of Westport. The school has long outgrown its existing building. Ten years ago, the Department agreed that a new school was needed and, led by Principal Orla Brickenden, Holy Trinity NS secured a site from the Sisters of Mercy."
Orla Brickenden, Principal Holy Trinity NS added: "The DoES recognised the need for a new school building for Holy Trinity ten years ago. We’ve been on the New School Building List for years. According to The Department’s own plans, our new school should have been ready by 2018. Minister, this is not good enough.
"The DoES authorised the establishment of the new Educate Together School without first checking that a suitable building was available to accommodate it. They now find themselves with a new seven pupil school that was established under the Divestment of Patronage scheme (which prohibits the building of new schools ) that they have to find a home for."
Eoin Holmes said: "The Department’s mistake should not be our problem. The mistake was not of our making, it has nothing to do with Holy Trinity NS. All we want is our long overdue school built on the site handed over for that purpose by The Sisters of Mercy. Crushing two schools onto our site is not in the best interest of the children of either school.
"We want the Department to drop this cheap and nasty proposal. We want them to treat us and Educate Together like every other school in the area. But most of all, we just want the Minister to get the finger out and get on with delivering our new school.
"Show the powers-that-be that Westport does not accept short changing its children. Please sign our petition and share using Facebook, Twitter, and so on. Thank you."
The Board of Management and Building Committee of Holy Trinity National School ask all interested persons to sign the online petition on https://www.ipetitions.com/petition/save-our-site.