herald

Saturday 3 December 2016

Parents' delight as Dail protest leads to €10m pledged for new school

St Mochta's Tessa Hynes and Freya Smyth at the Dail protest
St Mochta's Tessa Hynes and Freya Smyth at the Dail protest

Parents are celebrating victory in their battle to get funding for a new school.

Hundreds of pupils of Saint Mochta's National School in Clonsilla and their parents held a protest outside the Dail earlier this month demanding funding for a new school building.

"The battle has been won. We are getting our new school and we are absolutely thrilled to have achieved this," said parent Deirdre Herbert.

Parents protested about damp conditions, mould on carpets, electrical faults and leaky roofs that required buckets to catch leaks on rainy days.

Overcrowded

Five prefabricated buildings had been added over the years but the parents said the school of more than 900 pupils was grossly overcrowded.

The Department of Education's School Building Unit contacted the school to inform them that €10m in funding has now been made available.

The planned new school will be a two-storey, 32-classroom building with a library and sports hall.

"The children will be delighted at the news. We can't wait now for the new school to be up and running," said Ms Herbert, whose son Ben (10) is in fourth class.

"Everyone is now waiting to hear when the first sod will be turned at the site. It will be a momentous day. We heard the tenders will be going out in the next couple of days.

"All the parents are delighted and there's been emails flying back and forth.

"We're grateful for the support of the public, the media and the gardai who kept our children safe during the protest outside the Dail," she said.

"We had to march on the Dail to show how much we needed a new school."

Promises

At the Dail protest, mother-of-three Maeve Ward (42) said promises of a new school had been broken.

"In 2006, the Department of Education requested that the school expand its enrolment to cater for the growing local population and, in return, they promised to fast-track a new school," she said.

"Ten years later, we are still waiting. We now have more than 900 pupils and it is grossly overcrowded.

"Last November, Enda Kenny, Joan Burton, Leo Varadkar and Jan O'Sullivan were at Blanchardstown Valley and promised the new school would finally be built in 2016."

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