I raise this matter in regard to funding for the purchase of a site, under the award winning Fingal schools initiative scheme, for the first secondary school in Lusk which is badly needed. Lusk is a small village that has transformed itself into a town of 7,000 people. According to a recent Lusk local area plan, it is projected that the population will reach 10,000 plus. I appreciate the Minister of State, Deputy Kelleher, coming to the House to respond on his colleague's behalf.
There is no secondary school in Lusk and the secondary school situation in Dublin North is at breaking point. The secondary schools in Swords are completely full and can no longer take referrals from Lusk. The same applies to Balbriggan. Skerries is bursting at the seams with more than 1,000 pupils while Rush is the same. The capacity of the other secondary schools in the area to take up the slack is gone. There are also the outlying areas of Garristown, Naul, Ballyboughal and Oldtown. I do not know from where they will get a secondary school.
What is really bothering people in Dublin North and in Fingal is that this initiative won an award. The council approached local landlords, in conjunction with the overall development plan, and got land at extremely attractive prices. So successful was it that the former Taoiseach, Deputy Bertie Ahern, gave an award to Fingal County Council for its schools initiative.
There are four primary schools in Lusk. There is Lusk national school, which has 649 pupils, Hedgestown school, which has 86 pupils and is to rise to 106 to 111 in the next couple of years, Corduff, which has 92 pupils, and Educate Together, which has more than 100 pupils and the number is rising. There is a glaring need for a secondary school and I know this is one of the priority areas and a priority school.
Fingal County Council has identified a site which it got at very good value even by today's depressed standards and it is anxious to move ahead. It is waiting for direction from the Department to do so.
Like Fingal, Lusk would like to keep its identity and its residents would like the children of Lusk to keep their identity and not to have to travel to other secondary schools and leave many of the friends they made during their primary school years. Fingal County Council has been very successful in supporting Sporting Fingal soccer club which, in its first two years, has managed to get to the cup final which will be on 22 November. It is also playing in the play-offs to get to the premier league. It sees the value in giving Fingal an identity. Likewise, I see the value in the people of Lusk identifying with Lusk and not having to travel, not to mention the environmental impact and the impact on our trains and infrastructure, which are already under serious pressure.
I plead with the Minister of State to give us some good news on behalf of his colleague and to give some hope to the people of Lusk who wonder to where their children will go to secondary school. Lusk is a lovely place to live but it needs the other ancillaries like schools. We fought hard to get our primary schools and we need a secondary school. There is no other place for our children to go in Lusk.