I am raising the issue of Gaelscoil na Camóige in Clondalkin village. I regret that I must table this Adjournment matter, but the position of the school is critical. It has immediate needs surrounding two classrooms that the board of management recently decided could no longer remain open. This meant that young children had to carry their desks and chairs across the yard to temporary accommodation. There are serious questions as to how these children and classes will be accommodated in September. This is an immediate crisis for the school, parents and children. Will the Minister convey to the Department the serious concerns of the parents and teachers and everyone associated with the school?
I understand discussions are taking place between South Dublin County Council and the Department of Education and Science. We need the Department to clarify what will happen. Will another site be found? Will the Department pay for prefabs on another site? Will it help with the procurement of a site and co-operate with the parents and management to ensure another site will be found and that funding will be made available to replace those prefabs that need to be replaced?
The future of the school is a more considerable issue. The prefabs in the school are extremely old. Health and safety reports point to all sorts of problems, ranging from dampness and fire hazards to emergency exits opening the wrong way. The general state of the building is poor and this is of major concern. The quality of the teaching in the school is wonderful and the parents are very happy about it but the prefabs are far too old to continue using them for more than 200 children.
Before the previous general election it was said there would be a new campus. The most recent reply on this issue I have from the Minister states it is the Department's intention to provide the school with a new building and that agreement has been reached to provide a new building on a VEC-owned site. This was said before the general election. There is meant to be a large new gaelscoil campus but a serious question mark hangs over it. Will the project, costing €10 million to €12 million, go ahead? If so, it will be fantastic and the site will be great for the school. Parents certainly want it. However, this would be some years down the road and in the meantime there will be a major problem.
The school's third and fourth class classrooms are being closed for health and safety reasons. The school, in its current condition, cannot guarantee it will be able to accommodate children in these classes in September. This is the immediate issue and it requires an immediate response from the Department. It must respond to the crisis facing the school in terms of the two classes, costs, the supply of prefabs and engagement between parents and the Department on finding a suitable site. The longer-term question concerns the location of the school and when a new building will be provided.