Tuesday, 17 December 2019

Questions (68, 73)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Question:

68. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the timeframe for talks to continue with the Department of Education and Skills until a site can be secured for the new school to replace the existing Curragh post-primary school; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52900/19]

View answer

Martin Heydon

Question:

73. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the status of work to identify a suitable site for a new post-primary school in the Curragh, County Kildare; his engagement with the Department of Education and Skills on the issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53018/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Defence)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 68 and 73 together.

The provision of schools and associated issues is, in the first instance, a matter for my colleague the Minister for Education and Skills.

The lands in the area of the Defence Forces Training Centre form part of the Curragh Plains, a site unique in terms of its archaeological, environmental, historical and cultural heritage.

As custodian of the Curragh Plains, my Department is very aware of the competing challenges faced in relation to conservation of the land and requests for portions of the land to be made available for various reasons and particularly the demographic pressures on schools in the Kildare area.

The Department of Education and Skills wrote to my Department enquiring as to the availability of a suitable site for the provision of a post-primary school from within the Department's property portfolio in South Kildare.

As the Curragh contains an operational military installation, officials from my Department have requested the views of the military authorities on the matter. I have been advised that a formal submission will be made to my officials shortly.

My Department remains open to discussions with the Department of Education and Skills in relation to the future planning provision for schools in that area, having due regard for current and future operational military requirements arising in the Defence Forces Training Centre in the Curragh.