'Massive relief' as Educate Together to use shut school
Part of a south Dublin private school that was due to close after 60 years has been given a new lease of life.
Notre Dame, a junior and secondary school in Churchtown, announced last month it was winding down operations due to financial troubles.
Parents were informed of "an orderly wind down" over the next three years after a charitable trust set up a decade ago to run the school said it could no longer meet its operating costs and the need for significant investment in infrastructure.
But the junior school, which was first threatened with closure a decade ago when the Notre Dame des Missions order of nuns withdrew from education, will remain open.
Ballinteer Educate Together is to move into the junior school premises on a temporary basis next year, while the local Gaelscoil will locate there permanently in the long term, local Rathdown TD Josepha Madigan (FG) confirmed yesterday.
"It was very disappointing to hear that Notre Dame school was to close," she said.
"The news came as an awful shock to the many students, parents and teachers served by the school, which has been an important part of the community for many years.
"The decision to close the school caught many by surprise, leaving them in the dark. I am therefore delighted that, after I raised this issue in the Dail, I have received confirmation that Ballinteer Educate Together will be moved into the Notre Dame junior school premises in the short term and that the local Gaelscoil will be moved into the location over the long term."
She said the decision by the Department of Education to find a new "patron for the school premises" will come as a massive relief to parents and students of the junior school, which was to close next June.
"It will alleviate much of the concern that local educational needs can be met when the next school year begins," she said.
The news will also be welcomed by parents and students of the Ballinteer Educate Together National School, which is currently housed in "inadequate" temporary accommodation. It remains to be seen what will happen with the secondary school, which is scheduled to close in 2019.