DETSS PERMANENT BUILDING MUST BE BROUGHT FORWARD – NASH
19 November 2021
Local TD Ged Nash has reiterated his call for the permanent school building project for the Drogheda Educate Together Secondary School to be brought forward
“I am again speaking to heartbroken parents and children in East Meath and Drogheda who cannot be accommodated in their school of first choice.
“The school would of course love to accommodate everyone or at the very least the majority of those who have applied for a place. They simply can’t as the department has limited their first-year places for 2022-2023 to a number well below the level of applications received.
“Given the demand for places I am again urging the Minister for Education to instruct her officials to bring forward the building of the new school.
“A Parliamentary Question reply to me this week shows that the planning application for additional interim accommodation for the Mill Road site is ‘currently being finalised and it is anticipated that a planning application will be submitted (to Meath County Council) before the end of this month (November).’
“The reply from Minister Foley goes on to make reference to the school plan having to be ‘cognisant of the overall Shannon Homes Masterplan for the area’ and that the plan ‘has been received by the Department.’
“It makes me distinctly uncomfortable that the Department of Education, who has the responsibility for providing school buildings and places in an area that is already poorly served by public, social investment would describe a project of this nature as being somehow beholden to or dependent on plans from a property development company.”
Deputy Nash continued;
“The reply from Minister Foley suggests that there has been a strong level of engagement between Meath County Council and her Department and I have always gotten the sense from the Council that they see the DETSS project as a priority.
“With planning soon to go in for the new interim buildings, the Department has said that ‘work on preparing for the planning application for the permanent accommodation will be progressed in parallel with the local authority’s processing of the interim application.’
“This in itself is a positive development but we need the Minister to act to expedite the permanent school on an urgent basis.
“This makes social, educational and financial sense. The Department cannot stand over the spending of millions of euros more on portakabin-type buildings when it makes sounder financial sense to build the permanent school sooner than they initially intended.”
SEE PQ REPLY
For Written Answer on : 17/11/2021
Question Number(s): 103 Question Reference(s): 56208/21
Asked by: Ged Nash T.D.
To ask the Minister for Education when a planning application will be submitted to Meath County Council for the planned permanent school building for a school (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Details Supplied) the Drogheda Educate Together Secondary School, Mill Road, Mornington, Co. Meath REPLY
The project to provide the permanent building for the school referred to by the Deputy is in early architectural planning which involves site surveys, school design stages and the preparation of statutory applications.
As with all school building projects, pre-planning meetings are required with the Local Authority in advance of preparing a Planning Application. This is to ensure the highest probability of a successful planning application in the shortest time possible. A considerable amount of work is required following the pre-planning meeting to prepare a suitably detailed application.
At the pre-planning meeting for the interim accommodation currently on the site, the Local Authority made it clear that the planning application for the permanent accommodation must be cognisant of the overall Shannon Homes Masterplan for the area. Discussions have been ongoing between my Department and Shannon Homes Ltd. in relation to the overall plan for the area. The Shannon Homes Masterplan for the area has been received by my Department and a planning application is being prepared for the additional interim accommodation which the school will require for the 2022/23 academic year. The planning application for the additional interim accommodation is currently being finalised and it is anticipated that it will be submitted to the relevant local authority before the end of this month.
A decision by the Local Authority on the planning application for the further interim accommodation for 2022/23 must be secured before planning can be submitted for the schools permanent accommodation. However, work on preparing for the planning application for the permanent accommodation will be progressed in parallel with the Local Authority's processing of the interim application.