Dáil Éireann - Volume 617 - 05 April, 2006

Written Answers. - School Enrolments.

Ms Burton asked the Minister for Education and Science the action she will take to ensure children in west Dublin who have no places for September in national school will be accommodated; if she will address the crisis in the area due to the fact that there are not enough school places for the population of young families; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [13495/06]

  Ms Hanafin: I am conscious that the Dublin 15 area as a whole is one of the most rapidly developing areas in the country and, as a result, there has been a marked increase in the demand for [1821] primary school places. My Department is taking a number of measures to increase the capacity of existing schools in the area concerned along with the development of new schools to meet this increasing demand. All building projects arising from these interventions are awarded a band 1 priority rating under my Departments prioritisation criteria for large scale building projects to ensure they are delivered as expeditiously as possible.

In the Littlelepace-Castaheaney area a new school building has recently been completed at Mary Mother of Hope national school, with an additional project underway with a target delivery date of September 2007. In addition, a 32 classroom campus is planned for a school site in Ongar. This project will provide a permanent accommodation solution for Castaheaney Educate Together national school. It also has a target completion date of September 2007. This area is also served by the Scared Heart national school, Huntstown, where an extension project to provide a 32 classroom school is nearing completion. In the Diswellstown area, St. Patrick’s national school has recently moved into a new 24 classroom school. This will facilitate an annual three stream intake. However, as an exceptional matter the board of management will consider taking a fourth stream of junior infants this year. In addition to this, my Department is in discussions with St. Mochta’s national school regarding the possibility of it expanding to cater for an annual four stream intake. The school has an intake of three junior infant classes. An extension to cater for this development will also attract a band 1 priority rating. Other developments in the Dublin 15 area include the planned expansion of St. Brigid’s national school in Castleknock and extensions to St. Brigid’s boys and girls national schools, Blanchardstown.

I am confident that a combination of the measures outlined will assist in alleviating the immediate demand for pupil places in the area. However, due to the current level of demand emanating from the Dublin 15 area, the need to provide even further school accommodation is under consideration and my Department is engaging with the key school patron authorities that are active in the area.