herald

Friday 9 December 2016

Pupils facing into their fourth year without PE hall

Aimee O'Toole, Deola Shomoye and Hazel McAleer protesting about lack of progress on building a gym at Balbriggan Community College
Aimee O'Toole, Deola Shomoye and Hazel McAleer protesting about lack of progress on building a gym at Balbriggan Community College

A SCHOOL in north county Dublin is facing another 12 months without PE facilities, three years after their sports hall was demolished.

Balbriggan Community College, attended by 500 children, was slated for a new sports hall in 2012. The previous sports hall in the school was demolished but construction has yet to start on a replacement.

Earlier this year, students held a protest over the lack of facilities.

Keith Geraghty is the chairman of the parents' association for the college. His son Noah is in first year in the school and has only had one PE lesson since starting last September.

"It's ridiculous in this day and age when you hear so many stories about childhood obesity and here are a huge number of kids who have no access to facilities," he said.

"There are a lot of students who might not be involved with sport outside the school, so they aren't seeing any exercise from one end of the year to another."

Alternatives such as using community clubs or nearby schools were not suitable, the concerned dad said.

"It's a logistical nightmare," he commented.

Fingal Senator Darragh O'Brien said: "The Government essentially started the work and walked away."

He said that the people of the town were being treated "appallingly".

Parents and staff are not clear about what the next step in the plan is, he said, and have started a letter-writing campaign to the Minister for Education.

The Department of Education said that an extension to the school was announced as part of the five-year plan with a view to construction starting in 2014/15.

It will see the school doubled in size to 1,000 pupils according to the Department. A sports hall is also included in these plans.

"The project involves the construction of a new multi-storey building on the existing school site," the Department said.

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