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Dáil Éireann debate -
Thursday, 11 Feb 1965

Vol. 214 No. 2

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Vocational Schools.


asked the Minister for Education what is the cause of the delay in giving approval to plans for the erection of a new vocational school at Mountmellick, County Laois; and when they will be sent to the County Vocational Education Committee so that work may be commenced.

On 29th January last, my Department authorised the County Laois Vocational Education Committee to invite tenders for building Mountmellick vocational school. This authority could have been earlier had the committee not decided to incorporate furniture in the main contract instead of having a separate furniture contract. This departure from normal procedure necessitated more extensive examination of drawings and specifications before permission could be given for the invitation of tenders by the Committee.


asked the Minister for Education (a) the date on which a site was purchased for a vocational school in Clondalkin, (b) the date on which the building of a school was sanctioned, (c) if he will explain why consideration of the plans is taking so long, and (d) when it is expected that this school will be ready for occupation.

The site was purchased in November, 1959. The provision of the school was sanctioned in principle in November, 1962. The sketch plans submitted in this case required so much amendment that an unusually long period of time elapsed before final approval of them could be given. All planning stages have now been completed and the preparation of the final contract documents has been authorised.

It is not possible at this stage to forecast when the school will be ready for occupation.


asked the Minister for Education if he intends to grant permission to the County Dublin Vocational Education Committee to proceed with the compulsory purchase of a site for a vocational school in Walkinstown, County Dublin.

I have already informed the County Dublin Vocational Education Committee that, pending the submission by the committee of certain statistical information which will enable the need for a vocational school in Walkinstown to be assessed, the question of compulsory purchase of a site does not arise.

Is the Minister aware that one of his departmental inspectors came out and saw the site in question and said to go ahead and buy the site and that we have long since passed this stage and that it is now an absolute impossibility to buy a site in County Dublin without a compulsory purchase order? Is he further aware that we have been for the past two or three years searching this area to get a site by agreement or otherwise and have completely failed and that it is only through the generosity of a developer there that this site has been made available but that there is difficulty in regard to the lease and we must have a compulsory purchase order if we are to acquire. If not, the developer is anxious to get it back to use it for purposes that will yield him a great deal more money.

I shall see if there is anything I can do but there is reluctance to use this power, which has never been invoked, and it will be used only if there is absolute certainty that a school is needed there.

The population of this area is bigger than the population of Ballyfermot and there are no opportunities for vocational education for anybody in the area. It is dreadful to think there should be any doubt about it. If there is a 14-room school built here, we will need another 14-room school in the same area almost immediately.

When the committee did get sanction to buy the site, it was clearly without the implication of the need for a school. It was merely providing for a site in case they needed it.

We are still on the site. Can the Minister say when we shall have the opportunity of proceeding with this compulsory purchase?

If it were a site that could be easily acquired without invoking powers that have not up to now been invoked, then the idea was: go ahead and do it, and if you do not need it afterwards, you can sell it. However, to use compulsory powers, one must be convinced the site is needed.

Is the Minister aware it will be impossible to get sites in County Dublin, that we cannot get them for housing without the power of compulsory purchase?

If I were to allow these powers to be used and then did not need the site, that would be a difficult situation.

That is not an answer at all.