As the Deputy may be aware, the project to deliver a new school building for St. Teresa’s Special School is included on my Department’s capital programme and the acquisition of a permanent site is required to facilitate this project.
Officials from Galway County Council have been working towards identifying a permanent site to meet the needs of St. Teresa’s Special School, on behalf of my Department under the Memorandum of Understanding for the acquisition of school sites.
A number of site options for the school were identified by Galway County Council. These were comprehensively assessed and a preferred site option, which has been deemed suitable following a technical examination, has been identified. Negotiations with the landowner in respect of this proposed acquisition are currently underway.
If agreement in principle with the landowner is reached the legal conveyancing process commences. You will appreciate that due diligence must apply in relation to any site acquisition and it is not possible to give an indicative timeframe for the completion of same as complex issues can sometimes emerge.
I appreciate that unfortunately the process has taken some time to date but I trust that the inclusion of the project on the capital programme demonstrates my Department’s commitment to the delivery of a new school building for St. Teresa’s Special School. I can assure you that my officials are working to acquire a suitable site as expeditiously as possible and once this is completed the project will progress into architectural planning.
Given the commercial sensitivities associated with land acquisitions generally I am not in a position to provide any further information on the site acquisition process at this time, however, the patron body will be informed of the location for the school as soon as it is possible to do so.