Seanad Éireann - Volume 169 - 07 March, 2002
Adjournment Matters. - Schools Building Projects.
Mr. Glynn Mr. Glynn
Mr. Glynn: Cuirim fáilte roimh an Aire go dtí an Teach. Mar is eol dó, tá an-obair ar siúl ag na Gaelscoileanna ar fud na tíre ar son na Gaeilge. Is fíor a rá go bhfuil athbheochain na teanga á cur chun cinn sna scoileanna seo. Tá an scéal amhlaidh i Muileann Cearr agus tá súil agam go mbeidh an t-Aire agus an Roinn Oideachais agus Eolaíochta ábalta teacht i gcabhair ar Ghaelscoil an Mhuilinn. Tá sár-obair ar siúl ann agus táimíd go léir an-mhóralach as.
Gaelscoil an Mhuilinn, Mullingar was established in 1994 with just 24 pupils. It was housed in a shop which had living accommodation. Eight years later there are 232 pupils and 11 teachers, but the accommodation has not grown. The number of pupils has increased almost tenfold, but there is no playing field, hall, storage areas, principal's or secretary's office or remedial room. The schoolyard is small and pupils have to be let out to play in relays.
There is also a huge problem with parking. Gaelscoil an Mhuilinn is located on the Ballymahon road, which continues from Ballymahon to Roscommon and Athlone. It is a busy road, even  if it is just a regional road. The school is located between two housing estates, Oaklawns and Woodlands. Given the lack of facilities in the school, especially with regard to playing facilities, this is causing difficulty for local residents.
I am pleased to have been involved in the decision by Westmeath County Council to dispose of a plot of land for the construction of a school at Ashe Road, Mullingar. There is full planning permission for Gaelscoil an Mhuilinn on this site. It is waiting to go to tender if the necessary finance is made available. I would be grateful if the Minister would, through his good offices, ask the Minister for Education and Science, Deputy Woods, to provide it.
I mentioned athbheochán na teanga. There is a renaissance in the language, thank goodness. It is our native tongue. I am proud, as a Westmeath man and somebody with an abiding interest in the promotion of the teanga dúchais, that Gaelscoil an Mhuilinn has grown. Unfortunately, however, the accommodation and facilities have not grown in tandem with the number of pupils.
It is imperative that the construction of the school is expedited in the near future. Perhaps the Minister will convey my concern and that of the people whose children are attending the school that this project is given the go ahead as soon as possible.
Mr. Cassidy Mr. Cassidy
Mr. Cassidy: I thank Senator Glynn for sharing his time with me. I agree with the request he has made on behalf of the 232 students. I thank their parents, the teachers and residents of Oaklawns and Woodlands for their understanding in these special circumstances. Mullingar is the town where Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann was founded over 50 years ago. There is a marvellous revival of the language in the area, in regard to which we are seeking the full support of the Government. It was one of the main principles of the Fianna Fáil Party at its foundation in 1926.
A special case can be made for the gaelscoil in Mullingar. I lend my support, as Leader of Seanad Éireann, to Senator Glynn's request that this development take place. It is only 12 months before the number of pupils in the area for this school could possibly double.
Mr. Fahey Mr. Fahey
Mr. Fahey: Ba mhaith liom mo bhuíochas a ghabháil leis an mbeirt Sheanadóir as ucht seans a thabhairt dom obair na Ranna a mhíniu maidir le Gaelscoil an Mhuilinn, i Muileann Cearr.
Ag an am seo tá príomh oide agus naonúr muinteoir ar fhoireann na scoile. Chomh maith leis sin tá múinteoir fheabhais agus múinteoir amháin a bhíonn ag obair go páirt aimsearach le daltaí a bhfuil deacrachtaí faoi leith acu. Ar 30 Meán Fómhair seo caite bhí 231 dhalta sa scoil. Tá an scoil suite i bhfoirgneamh shealadach atá glactha ar cíos aige.
Chuir an Roinn €153.6 milliúin ar fáil i 2002 le haghaidh foirgnimh do bhunscoileanna. Is é seo an méid airgid is mó a cuireadh ar fáil ariamh agus taispeánann sé dáiríreacht an Rialtais maidir  le háiseanna nua a chur ar fáil do bhunscoileanna ar fud na tíre, agus do scoileanna mar Ghaelscoil an Mhuilinn ach go háirithe.
Tá cúrsaí pleanála do Ghaelscoil an Mhuilinn críocnaithe sa Roinn anois agus tá súil ag an Aire go mbeidh an Roinn in ann tairiscintí a lorg chomh luath agus is féidir, faoi chlár foirgnimh na Ranna. Tá an Roinn Oideachais agus Eolaíochta an-sásta foirgneamh nua a chur ar fáil do Ghaelscoil an Mhuilinn.
 Cuirfidh mé a raibh le rá ag an mbeirt Sheanadóir anocht in iúil don Aire agus gabhaim buíochas leo as ucht an tseans a tugadh dom míniú don Teach an chaoi ina bhfuil plean na Ranna ag dul ar aghaidh. Tá mé cinnte go mbeidh an Roinn in ann dul ar aghaidh leis na tairiscintí agus an foirgneamh a thosú chomh luath agus is féidir.
The Seanad adjourned at 10.40 p.m. until 10.30 a.m. on Friday, 8 March 2002.
Seanad Éireann 169 Adjournment Matters. Schools Building Projects.