Dáil Éireann - Volume 618 - 03 May, 2006
Written Answers. - School Closures.
Aengus Ó Snodaigh Aengus Ó Snodaigh
Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Education and Science if her attention has been drawn to a future development of an area in the next few years which will add to the pressure for school places on existing schools, which are currently full to capacity even before the closure of a primary school (details supplied) in Dublin 8. [16082/06]
Ms Hanafin Ms Hanafin
Ms Hanafin:Enrolments in the Dublin 8 area had previously been in decline but have stabilised in recent years. However, my Department has not been made aware of any difficulty in obtaining school places in the area. In line with current practice, my Department will continue to monitor the situation, in the context of any proposed future developments and particularly in relation to the developments at St. Michael’s.
My Department became aware of the intention of the Trustees to close the school to which the Deputies refer through media reports. This is a shocking development given that the delivery of education in this country has always been done through a partnership approach. At the very least, my Department would have expected the courtesy of being informed through the normal channels and at the earliest opportunity so that it could commence procedures to ensure that the pupils concerned would have the certainty of an alternative placement for next September. Apart from this, closing the school at such short notice  is an extremely unusual decision which is understandably very upsetting and distressing for the parents, teachers and pupils involved.
I have arranged a meeting with the Christian Brothers this week to discuss the matter and I can assure Deputies that my Department will work closely with them to see if there is a way in which the closure can be avoided. If this is not possible, my Department will be pressing for at least a phased and orderly closure, if it is the case that closure of the school is the only option. A phased and orderly closure and winding down of the school would ensure that there is sufficient time for any necessary and appropriate arrangements to be put in place for existing and potential pupils of the school.
If it becomes necessary to seek alternative placements for some of the pupils the early indications are that there are, in fact, places in some other schools in the area, including in a school in the Christian Brothers network, as enrolments in the area have undergone a decline in recent years. My Department will take every step to ensure that there is adequate provision in the area for the pupils concerned.
Dáil Éireann 618 Written Answers. School Closures.