The recent meetings, organised by the Parents Association to update the school community on the up-to-date position of the school building project and the conditions of the Portacabins, brought representatives of 450 families to the school hall over two nights.
The Meetings had a general air of urgency about the school building project given the length of time that we are waiting for the project to get off the ground. The meetings were addressed by Mr. Molloy (a teacher working in the portacabins, Mr Healy (School Principal), Alan Markey (Chairperson, Board of Management) and Fran Leavey (Chairperson, Parents Association).
Mr Molloy stated the case for the pupils and teachers who occupy the Portacabins on a daily basis and endure the hardships associated with teaching and learning in such an unsuitable environment. He said he had taught in all manner of building including prefabs and even in the Parish Hall, but none could equal the poor conditions that the Portacabins bring. He outlined the many defects that are evident and appealed to the authorities to get the matter sorted as early as possible for the sake of the pupils who are trying to work in them.
Mr Healy outlined the history of the Portacabins, how they had been accepted back in 1998 as a stopgap measure to tide us over until the new building was completed. That was now 12 years ago and nothing has happened. He told the meeting that the Department of Education had purchased the cabins While these were on rental the suppliers took care of maintenance but the school would be liable for this maintenance which would put an enormous drain on the scarce resources of the school. While he understood that it made economic sense to purchase the cabins rather than rent them, it was not very prudent to accept them with such blatant defects.
Alan Markey spoke about the frustration of the Board of Management in trying to move the building project forward. In 1998 the school was told that a new building was necessary and that this should be on site within two years. Now, 12 years later, the reality was that not much progress had been made.
Fran Leavey urged parents to get behind the Board in demanding a new school. He had many eager and willing parents who volunteered to act as Class Organisers. It was decided that Parents would write to and visit Public Representatives with a view to persuading them of the urgent need to get a building on site at the earliest possible time. A meeting of parent volunteers was organised for early next week. Representatives of the School are travelling to Tullamore for a meeting with officials of the Department and The School News will keep you updated on progress.