Written Answers. - Schools Building Projects.

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

154 Ms Shortall asked the Minister for Education and Science his intentions concerning the site reserved for a primary school in Griffeen Valley, Lucan; and the steps his Department is taking to address the acute shortage of junior infant places in this area for September 2003. [19321/03]

I am fully conscious of the issue raised by the Deputy. Lucan, as the fastest growing area in the country, has seen a marked increase in the demand for primary school places, particularly in the south Lucan area in the electoral division of Lucan-Esker. My Department has instructed the property management section of the Office of Public Works to enter into negotiations with the owners of the site in the Griffeen Valley area with a view to acquiring it. In view of the commercial sensitivity of the site acquisition process, the Deputy will appreciate that I am not in a position to comment further on this matter at this time other than to state that it is not expected that the site will be available for the forthcoming school year. My Department has taken steps to increase the capacity of existing primary schools in the Lucan area, by providing permanent and temporary accommodation, in order to meet the demand for primary school places in the Lucan area for September 2003.

Building projects have recently been completed at Scoil Áine junior school and St. Thomas's senior school to increase the capacity of each of the schools to 16 classrooms. Construction of the new Educate Together national school in Lucan will be finalised for September 2003. The capacity of the school will be 16 mainstream classrooms along with an autistic unit. My Department is also arranging for the installation of a prefabricated unit at Archbishop Ryan national school. The unit will be installed over the summer and will be available for September. A new school, Griffeen Valley Educate Together national school, was established in the Lucan area in September 2002. The school's accommodation in the scout den in Lucan village is insufficient to meet its needs for September 2003. In this regard, my officials are in communication with the school authorities with a view to having alternative accommodation in place for September 2003. Primary provision in the Lucan area, and in south Lucan in particular, will continue to be monitored by my Department.