This matter concerns a primary school in Dublin Central – the Taoiseach's constituency – and relates to staffing ratios and resources. This is a disadvantaged area in the docklands. It is an isolated community bounded by the railway line on one side and the sea on the other. The area has not received its fair share of Dublin city's recent development. Surrounding schools in other disadvantaged areas have received preferential treatment compared to this school. It has not been in receipt of any of the schemes which have been forthcoming for the other schools with the result that there has been a reduction in staffing. This has meant the school has been unable to meet the needs of the community. Some six to eight young pupils who were unable to start school last September and who tried to start last Christmas were turned away because of insufficient staffing.
My concern is that the school has been losing pupils and will shortly lose parental confidence. If that happens, the school could easily lose its ability to continue and other surrounding schools could suck up its pupils.
That would sound the death knell for the community which has few facilities, even though it comprises 1,500 homes, and which, although it would be considered large in a rural area, is seen as small in Dublin. It has a post office, pub and petrol station. A road, which carries huge juggernauts, runs one side of it, which isolates it to a degree, about which I hope the port tunnel does something.
The main concern about the school is the pupil-teacher ratio and the extra resources required. This has been the subject of an ongoing campaign. When I asked previously about the matter, the reply was that a proper application had not been received from the school for the schemes put in place in recent years. While I admit the principal had been ill for some time, the issue has been brought to the attention of the Department of Education and Science on a number of occasions and I would like something specific done about it. The loss of a primary school in the area will mean parents will begin to look outside the area, not only for a school, but also for other facilities. That would sound the death knell for this little community.