‘We needed council to stop dragging its heels and take action’ – Principal

By Mary Dennehy

MORE than 50 kids from a local Gaelscoil this week reminded South Dublin County Council that there are pupils, parents and teachers behind decisions it’s making in relation to the future of their school.

Gaelscoil Chnoc Liamhna has been waiting for a promised school building for the past two decades, with its 236 pupils currently learning out of a ‘temporary’ school campus made up of 16 prefabs.

Scoil Cnoc Liamhna 2

Due to the lack of a PE hall, all sports are weather-dependent, there’s no shelter for parents to collect kids, no storage space and a growing concern for the health and safety of kids – who have to venture out into the cold every time they need to visit the office or another classroom.

While the prefabs are well-maintained by staff, the upkeep is a major drain on school resources – with some of the aging and damp prefabs constantly in need of repair.

In an interview with the school earlier this year, The Echo learned that the Department of Education is unable to buy the site from the council due to issues with the land’s title.

A section of the old Knocklyon Road, which was closed when the M50 was built, runs through the school grounds, but there’s no title on it – and this needs to be established before the Department can purchase the land and construct a new school building.

Over the years, the school has been in constant communication with the council to rectify the problem. 
However, due to a perceived lack of action on the council’s part the school’s future and growth has remained in limbo.

Principal Maire Ní Ghallchoir told The Echo: “The issue with our school and its land was up for discussion in the council this week and we wanted to be present.

“It was very important for us to remind the council that behind this piece of land is a school community made up of children, parents and teachers.

“We needed the council to stop dragging its heels and to take action and this week we’re feeling a lot more positive after the council committed to publishing a CPO [Compulsory Purchase Order] by Easter.”

As 50 civic-minded primary school students stood outside County Hall on Tuesday, the council committed to commending the CPO process and publishing the CPO by this Easter.

When contacted by The Echo, senior planner Brian Keaney said: “The council’s solicitors have advised that the cleanest way to acquire title to the strip of land contained within the school boundary of the school site and directly outside the school gate is to initiate a CPO.

“The council wrote to the Departmnt of Education and Skills to ascertain if they were happy to proceed with the CPO option and they indicated that they would be in favour of the CPO to rectify title issues.

“Council have met with the Gaelscoil Board of Management who also agree with this approach.”

 

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