The patronage divesting process arises from the recommendations of the 2012 report of the Advisory Group to the Forum on Patronage and Pluralism in the Primary Sector, following which the Department undertook surveys of parental preferences in 43 areas of stable population in 2012 and 2013 to establish the level of parental demand for a wider choice in the patronage of primary schools within these areas. Analysis of the parental preferences expressed in each area surveyed indicated that there was sufficient parental demand to support changes in school patronage in 28 areas, including in Clonmel.
Under the patronage divesting process, a school can be opened where a school building became, or was due to become available as a result of an amalgamation/closure of an existing school. In some areas, including in the case of Clonmel, in responding to demand for diversity where existing patrons were unable make school properties available, my Department also included an examination of properties held in public ownership.
To date, it has not been possible to secure a school property to facilitate a new school being established in Clonmel. However, my Department is continuing its efforts in relation to identifying a suitable solution under the patronage divesting process, which would facilitate a new Educate Together school being established to serve the Clonmel area. It is not possible at this stage, however, to give a timeframe for the establishment of such a school.