The property to which the Deputy refers, at which a primary school operated until it closed earlier this year, is not in my ownership, nor, according to Department records, does my Department hold any other legal interest, such as a charging lease, over the property. In that context, the plans for the property are a matter for the owner.
My Department is aware of a proposal to develop the former school property for residential purposes and has conducted an assessment into the potential impact that this proposal would have on education provision at primary and post-primary level within the area. On foot of this assessment, my Department has written to the Local Authority to inform them of the school place requirements that would be generated by this proposed development.
Regarding the Deputy’s query on siting two schools on a property referenced by the Deputy, I am taking this to mean that the Deputy is referring to the establishment of new schools in the area. In this regard, my Department establishes new schools where a demographic need for a new school has been identified. Where a new school is required to meet a demographic need, my Department runs a patronage process, open to all patron bodies and prospective patrons.
As the Deputy will be aware, in April 2018, the Government announced plans for the establishment of 42 new schools over the next 4 years (2019 to 2022). This announcement follows nationwide, demographic exercises carried out by my Department into the future need for primary and post-primary schools across the country. In that regard, as part of the demographic exercises, my Department engages with each of the local authorities to obtain the up-to-date information on significant new residential development in each area, including the area to which the Deputy refers. While the announcement did not include a new school for the school planning area, the requirement for new schools will be kept under on-going review and in particular will have regard for the increased rollout of housing provision as outlined in Project Ireland 2040.
This area was also one surveyed in 2013 as part of the patronage divesting process. The outcome was that there was sufficient parental demand for a multi-denominational school. My Department is continuing its efforts in relation to identifying a suitable solution under the patronage divesting process.