Minister says new South Kerry school must compete with others projects

NO REPRO FEE - 22nd January, 2016. The Fine Gael 78th Ard Fheis held in the Citywest Hotel, Dublin. Photo:Barry Cronin [email protected] 087-9598549

The Education Minister says a proposed new national school for Waterville will have to compete with other projects around the country.

Richard Bruton was responding to questions raised by Kerry Fine Gael Deputy Brendan Griffin under topical issues in the Dail.

Deputy Griffin invited the Minister to visit the school to see conditions first hand.

Deputy Brendan Griffin told the Minister that the building that houses St. Finian’s National School in Waterville dates back to 1913 and since 2008 around €300,000 has been spent on maintaining it.

However, this the TD says was sticking plaster expenditure and says a new school is very much needed and long overdue adding that a greenfield site is readily available.

Last year pupil numbers rose to 111 and it is anticipated the school will hire a fifth teacher and Deputy Griffin says the Department of Education must treat the project and fast-track it.

The Kerry TD said the children of Waterville deserve the same treatment as children in the commuter belt or anywhere else.

Minister Richard Bruton said the Department must provide around 20,000 new school places annually and this puts pressure on the budget.

The Minister said the project would have to compete with others and said technical reports submitted by the school were to be considered by the building unit.

He added there is no difference in the rules applied in various areas and said it is very difficult to secure a replacement school.

The Department has told the school is that it is open to new accommodation but only in the context of immediate needs.