I thank you, a Leas-Chathaoirligh, for the opportunity to raise this issue — the need for the Minister for Education and Science to outline the progress which has been made in acquiring a site for Scoil na Camoige in Clondalkin, Dublin; to outline plans for the development of a new gaelscoileanna site in Clondalkin; to clarify if funding has been granted; and to outline how the project will be developed and the timeframe for the three schools involved.
I acknowledge that the creation of a gaelscoileanna complex is an exciting development for Clondalkin and the wider community. It will provide a unique facility and I welcome the planned development. However, I am concerned about the delays in progressing this project and in its funding. The recently published list by the Department of Education and Science for school building projects did not mention Gaelscoil na Camoige. In advance of last year's general election, unequivocal promises were given by Fianna Fáil and the Progressive Democrats about this school. The students and teachers at this gaelscoil have just completed another winter housed in prefabs without receiving any concrete details of a new school building materialising. This has been a crushing blow for the 220 children and 16 staff members who are forced to work in these poorly ventilated, damp and dangerous structures with no end in sight.
The staff and parents are to be congratulated on their fund-raising efforts which have managed to keep the school going and repair the prefabs. However, it is not their responsibility to ensure that children are provided with adequate accommodation and equipment. The school has been housed in prefabs since 1993. The Celtic tiger was nowhere to be seen for this school community.
I wish to ask the Minister of State a number of questions. How long will it take to deliver this project? Has financing for the project been agreed? If so, could the Minister of State provide a breakdown of the financing? What stage is the planning for this site at currently? Who will be involved in the planning and development of the project? I bring to the attention of the Minister and the departmental officials the fact that three schools are involved in this site. It is extremely important that representatives of all three schools are involved in planning for the project owing to its complexity and the different needs of each school. If there is interaction and co-operation between the representatives of the three schools, it will ensure that the best plan can be worked out for this new complex.
The Minister and the Department should ensure that this new gaelscoileanna site is developed in a creative manner, including the provision of art, sport and cultural facilities. This is potentially an exciting venture and provides many positive opportunities for Clondalkin and west Dublin generally. I hope the Minister of State will confirm that the Government is delivering on its pre-election promise to the people of Dublin mid-west. The Minister should take steps to ensure that the project is brought forward as a matter of urgency and that it receives priority status.