Dáil Éireann - Volume 463 - 14 March, 1996
Adjournment Debate. - Kilmurry (Clare) School Accommodation.
Miss de Valera Miss de Valera
Miss de Valera: I thank the Ceann Comhairle for allowing me to raise the serious accommodation problem in Kilmurry, Ennis, national school on the Adjournment. The provision of an extension is vital. I am very disappointed that Kilmurry national school has not been included in the building programme for 1996. It has been suggested that this school should be put on an emergency list for the provision of a prefab. However, this would not be appropriate as there is rapid growth in the area and the school will qualify for an extra teacher next September due to  the increase in student numbers. It can be seen, therefore, that long-term accommodation is required.
It is not possible to extend the existing classrooms due to the design and age of the school building. The principal had to acquire a portacabin as there was nowhere to keep pupils' shoes and coats. This costs the board of management £121 every 28 days. The toilets, which were built in 1980 when student numbers were much lower, have been deemed to be well below standard and fall short of the Mid-Western Health Board's hygiene standards. Furniture is also required but it is unlikely that this will be provided before next September. The present enrolment is 61 and another pupil will be enrolled after Easter. This means one teacher will have to teach 34 pupils, three more than the maximum, in a small classroom. The school would be entitled to an extra teacher if the building was provided.
The inspector submitted a report in adequate time for Kilmurry to be included in the building programme for 1996. I visited the school and was very impressed by the work done by the two teachers. Their commitment to the education of the local children should be recognised by the Department of Education through the provision of proper facilities which in this case amounts to a new extension and the appointment of a third teacher. The conditions in the school are unacceptable and I ask the Minister to address this matter as soon as possible.
Mr. Currie Mr. Currie
Mr. Currie: I welcome the opportunity to outline my Department's response to the accommodation problems in Kilmurry national school which has a staffing level of one principal and one assistant teacher and an enrolment of 61. Based on this enrolment, it is likely that an additional teacher will be appointed to the school next September. The school has two permanent classrooms which are smaller than modern day classrooms and I am aware that additional accommodation is needed. A  building project for the school was considered for inclusion in the 1996 capital building programme. This project was reviewed against a set of objectives and a priority listing. As other projects were considered to be of higher priority Kilmurry national school will not be progressed through the building stages under the 1996 national building programme.
My Department is seeking to address the school's immediate accommodation needs. A planning review has been carried out and a report has been furnished by my Department's professional staff. The next step is to determine how the accommodation difficulties can be overcome within the limited financial resources available. My Department will shortly contact the school authorities with its proposals. I assure the Deputy that every effort is being made to overcome the present difficulties. I accept the urgency of the case and fully appreciate the concerns of the school authorities, teachers and parents of the pupils at Kilmurry national school. The Deputy can be assured of my desire to see an immediate improvement in the school's accommodation.
Dáil Éireann 463 Adjournment Debate. Kilmurry (Clare) School Accommodation.