Thursday, 1 February 2018

Ceisteanna (15)

John Lahart


15. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of his Department's search for a site for the proposed post-primary educate together school serving the Firhouse area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4649/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Oral answers (3 contributions) (Ceist ar Education)

My Department is working closely with South Dublin County Council under the memorandum of understanding on school site acquisitions to acquire a permanent site for a post-primary school serving the Firhouse-Oldbawn school planning area. The school will be under the patronage of Educate Together. A suitable site has been identified and officials are working to advance the acquisition process. Due to the commercial sensitivities that attach to site acquisitions generally, I am not in a position to give specific details on the proposed site at this time. The school patron will be informed of the location as soon as it is possible to do so.

I have been asking the Minister this question for a number of months and he has continually cited commercial sensitivity, but he has also cited the fact that his Department is working with South Dublin County Council on securing a suitable site for the 1,000 pupil Firhouse Educate Together post-primary school. I take it from this that the land he says the Department is seeking to purchase is public land. There is considerable anxiety in the area, given the rigmarole that the Department went through regarding the existing Educate Together primary school and Gaelscoil. Will the Minister confirm that the Department is seeking to purchase public land, when will that happen and will the temporary Educate Together post-primary school be located, as is rumoured locally, in the existing primary school building, which is new, until permanent accommodation is sought?

Unfortunately, the Department is always in a difficult situation when trying to negotiate a deal. We just encountered the same issue in north County Dublin. The Deputy must trust the Department that it works with local authorities on a best-endeavour basis to get the best possible outcome for the schools. I will not gainsay it by giving information that I have been told is commercially sensitive and should not be released. I have to have faith in my officials. This is what they have advised me to do. I will stand by the reply, but I understand the Deputy's frustration.

Written Answers are published on the Oireachtas website.