Wicklow Sinn Féin TD John Brady has expressed serious concerns about the planned development of the permanent school building for Greystones Community College following news that the school is one of 58 new school builds that are on hold due to capital financial pressures in the Department.
Speaking after receiving the news Deputy Brady said “It is very alarming that after receiving planning permission in April 2022 for the new 1,000 pupil school building in Charlesland, the Department has now informed Greystone Community College that tendering for work on developing the new school is on hold due to capital financial pressures.
“It was hoped that the tender for the new school would go out last December, unfortunately that didn’t materialise, instead the school got the devastating news that progressing the new school build of a new 10,808 sqm school building, including 37 general classrooms, 20 specialist classroom, a PE hall, a special education unit, six hard play courts and other staff and student facilities is now on hold.”
“This simply isn’t acceptable; there are major educational pressures in Greystones and across Wicklow and the decision to put on hold 58 school building projects including Greystones Community College will have a devastating impact on the provision of education across Wicklow.”
“The Department of Education has said that the Department’s Planning and Building Unit is currently assessing its work programme and priorities for 2023 in the context of overall requirements and available funding and that their most immediate priorities are to cater for September 2023 requirements. They also say are engaging with the Department of Public Expenditure, NDP Delivery and Reform in relation to capital funding pressures in order to continue to be able to adequately support the operation of the school system with rollout of school building projects to tender and construction in 2023 and minimise project delays to the greatest extent possible. Currently there are 58 school building projects, this includes Greystones Community College on hold due to capital funding pressures.”
“The Minister must explain immediately how she believes that this delay won’t have a negative impact on school places in the Greystones area, this is something that we unfortunately see every year and why this new school build is so critical. The Department must explain how long it is anticipated that the school building will be on hold for and what this means for Greystones Community College.”
“There is a crisis in education right across Wicklow with schools such as North Wicklow Educate Together, Blessington Community College, Wicklow Educate Together National School and Coláiste Bhríde all waiting on the Department to move forward critical plans for their schools. The Minister must also state if any other school building project in Wicklow is on their list of 58 school building projects that are on hold.”
“Unfortunately, what we see again from this Minister is a complete failure to plan, and this failure is going to again impact on the provision of education in Wicklow. The 3 Government TDs in Wicklow which include 2 senior Ministers must immediately intervene and get this critical school project back on track.”