I wish to raise issues regarding Garranbane national school, Dungarvan, County Waterford. It is probably best if I just read out a letter I received from the school principal, signed on behalf of the school's board of management, because it best outlines the issues facing the school.
Dear Mr. Cullinane,
The Board of Management and the school community of Garranbane National School require your assistance in approaching the Department of Education [and the Minister] on our behalf, to request that they grant full funding for the development of a safe school at Garranbane.
On the 16th May 2012, under the Prefab Rental Replacement Scheme, Garranbane N.S. received a grant for a standalone extension consisting of 4 x 80m2, 2 x 25m2 and 2 x 16m2 permanent rooms. Since then there has been several setbacks in proceeding with this build.
Initially Waterford County Council refused planning, this was as a result of objections lodged. An Bord Pleanála finally granted conditional planning permission to the school in 2013. The total cost of the project [...] is proposed to be €1,385,769.16. This greatly exceeds the Department of Education approved funding. The overrun in costs is due solely to the imposition of the conditions as set out by An Bord Pleanála.
The total funding approved [...] is €718,226.00 [which means the shortfall] is €667,543.16.
The BOM, staff and parents are very concerned, as in four years there has been no progress on the build and to date we have not received funding. We are situated in a unique hazardous unsuitable site for any school, on the fork of a road on a hillside between the N25 and a narrow local road the site of many traffic collisions. Our school currently presents numerous health and safety issues.
- In June 2014, the school was informed that there were major exceedances of lead in the water supply, even after a five minutes' flush. As it was the BOM belief that major work was soon to begin on the school, an external temporary drinking water tap was installed on the school grounds and no other structural work was done to the pipes. This single tap provides the only drinkable water on the school grounds for a population of more than 200.
- Asbestos hazards were found present throughout our school, in a report published in 2003, thus warning signs are posted throughout the school [...]
- The main building was built in 1939 containing two classrooms. The enrolment at that time was approximately 100 pupils, our current enrolment is 196 [...]
- The sewage system that was installed at that time does not function adequately to cope with the increase in enrolment [...]
- Several of our prefabs have leaks in the roofs and mould, mildew and mushrooms growing around the corners of ceilings. They are draughty and cold in winter and overheat in summer and yet children are expected to work in these conditions.
- One of the larger prefabs has several holes in the floor, where the floor has collapsed and which has had to be patched up temporarily to avoid injury.
- The staffroom catering for 14 adults and visitors is a converted cloakroom, extended in 2004 by the Board of Management.
- There are no cloakroom facilities in the main building. All coats are kept in small classrooms which makes movement around classrooms limited with such large pupil numbers, causing dampness/mildew, again [...] unsatisfactory for all children but especially those with asthma/chest conditions.
- Toilet facilities are inadequate and out-dated. In the main building 6 toilets cater for 100 children. Continuous problems with blockages [...]
- The school is not accessible by wheelchair.
- All footpaths, playgrounds and pavements are cracked and broken [...]
- The school is situated on a hillside and the forty-two steps up to school have no hand rails presenting a safety issue for all school users especially special needs children.
The Minister will be able to understand from the letter all the problems with which the school must deal daily. I am sure he would not want it thought that any of them-----