It is disgraceful that I have to raise this issue again. The Department is conscious of the urgent necessity for a new primary school at Kilfinane, County Limerick. I previously raised the matter in the Dáil. The people of Kilfinane and surrounding area were delighted prior to the last election when it was indicated that a new school would be provided in the area. It is almost two years since the general election and there is no indication when work will commence on a new school.
Kilfinane national school is a co-education primary school and in September 2003 had an enrolment of 134 pupils. The staffing consists of a principal, five mainstream teachers, one resource teacher and one shared learning support teacher. The school was built in 1909 and is a listed building. It was recognised in a feasibility study carried out in 1999 that it would not be possible to upgrade or extend the existing building. A site was secured in the area in 2002 and the school committee raised €60,000 to part fund the project, as it was obliged to do. The current educational environment in which teachers and pupils have to operate is not satisfactory. The Department of Education and Science is aware of these conditions so I do not need to elaborate on them. It is imperative that the Department gives approval to the project as soon as possible.
Prior to the last general election the school committee was told the project was on the list and would be carried out in due course. I am aware the Minister has announced the 2004 school building programme. It is imperative that the Minister includes it in the next school building programme. I look forward to a positive reply from the Minister of State.