I thank the Deputy for the question. In April 2018 the Government announced plans for the establishment of 42 new schools in the next four years - 2019 to 2022, inclusive. The announcement follows nationwide demographic exercises carried out by my Department to assess future need for primary and post-primary schools across the country. While the announcement did not include a new post-primary school for Kilkenny city, although it does include a new 16 classroom primary school for Kilkenny to be established in September 2021, the requirement for new schools is being kept under ongoing review and, in particular, will have regard to the increased roll-out of housing provision as outlined in Project Ireland 2040.
Officials from my Department recently met personnel from Kilkenny County Council when the council’s plans for housing in the Kilkenny area in the coming years were outlined. Further engagement is planned in that regard.
Where demographic data indicate that additional provision is required, the delivery of such additional provision is dependent on the particular circumstances of each case and may, depending on the circumstances, be provided through either one or a combination of the following: utilising existing unused capacity within a school or schools; extending the capacity of a school or schools; or the provision of a new school or schools. In that context, as the Deputy will be aware, building projects for five post-primary schools located in Kilkenny are included in my Department's school building programme. Building projects for Kilkenny will provide additional capacity in the order of 600 additional places above September 2017 levels: Kilkenny CBS - 73 places; St. Kieran's College - 35 places; Pobail Scoil Osraí - 166 places; and Kilkenny city post-primary chool - 334 places. Significant works to improve and expand facilities at Presentation secondary school are also planned.