Plans to provide a new premises for a Moycullen primary school may have suffered a setback – but staff and parents of Scoil Mhuire are determined to see an end to pupils stuck in pre-fabs, some of them twenty years old.
The Department of Education had approved a new 16 room school on a greenfield site but a public meeting has been told that concerns over cost may mean building on the site of the current school in the village may still become the preferred option.
The voluntary members of the school’s Board of Management told the meeting how disappointed and frustrated they were at this latest news from the Department, as it would undoubtedly cause further delays.
There is no dispute that the current school building which was constructed in 1978 and houses 389 pupils is ‘not fit for purpose’ and indeed was a term voiced on a number of occasions during the meeting.
Prefabs have been used to accommodate the constantly increasing number of children attending the school. Some of those prefabs are 20 years old and need to be regularly repaired and maintained.
Some parents complained of mould and voiced concerns for their children’s health — however there were assurances from the principal, Terry Kavanagh that the school had got a clean health and safety report.
Referring to a recent report in a national newspaper about an investigation by a Department watchdog into spending and procurement issues at the school, he said there was no substance to any of the allegations.
Mr Kavanagh said the Board had “enthusiastically co-operated with the Financial Support Services Unit” and described as “nonsense” the allegations made by the anonymous complainant which had led to the investigation.
Paddy Byrne, who has led the new school project for the past eight years, said they were determined to get rid of the prefabs and replace them with a brand new building to cater for the growing population of the village.
He said a four and a half acre site in Kilrainey Woods – previously owned by Coillte – had been agreed with the Moycullen Community Development Association (MCDA) for €100,000 towards required infrastructure and that the school would be held in trust by the patron, the Galway Diocese.
Almost €50,000 has already been fundraised locally by the Cáirde of Scoil Mhuire, a new group set up to support the new school project.
This is a preview only. To read the rest of this article, see the February 8 edition of the Connacht Tribune. Buy a digital edition of this week’s paper here.