New School Campaign
The Board of Management of St. Mary's Primary School, Stranorlar, held a breakfast briefing in the school on Monday last for elected representatives and the media on the proposed new school project. The event was attended by the Mayor of Donegal , Cllr. Frank Mc Brearty, Mr. Joe Mc Hugh T.D., Mr. Charlie Mc Conalogue T.D., Mr. Thomas Pringle T.D., Senator Jimmy Harte, Cllr. Patrick McGowan and Cllr. Martin Harley. Representatives of the Board of Management, the Parents' Association and the Staff were also in attendance, as well as Fr. John Joe Duffy C.C. Stranorlar.
The Chairman of the Board of Management, Mr. Frankie Quinn, welcomed all to the event and stated that the purpose of the briefing was to create an awareness of the urgency attached to securing funding from the Government to proceed to the tender and construction phase of the project. Despite the fact that a site had been secured and Planning Permission obtained the Department of Education and Skills had stated that the focus of the Capital Building Programme was on meeting demographic needs and that in the light of competing demands that it was not possible to give an indicative time frame for the progression of the St. Mary's Project. Mr. Quinn acknowledged the work which had been done to date by the Board of Management in obtaining the site and then asked the Principal to address those present.
The School Principal, Mr. Fintan Keating, outlined the progress which had been made to date and he acknowledged the role played by the former Tánaiste, Ms. Mary Coughlan, in obtaining the site for the proposed new school, and the role played by Mr. Pat The Cope Gallagher M.E.P. in securing emergency funding to attend to necessary repairs on the building a number of years ago. He also said that there were many other factors apart from demographic needs which needed to be taken into consideration, namely the traffic congestion and safety concerns, the cost of rented prefabricated accommodation and the fact that over 30% of the children were being accommodated in this temporary accommodation. He added that initiatives on Literacy and Numeracy were laudable, but that a starting point must be that each child has an appropriate learning environment in which to experience the curriculum. He urged all politicians present to come together on this issue and to show that the new politics often spoken about gave a voice to the people who needed it most.
The Chairman of the Parents' Association, Mr. Bryan Cannon, spoke on behalf of the parents and families of the 479 children who attend the school. He acknowledged with gratitude the presence of so many elected representatives and he urged them to do everything that they could to bring the project to fruition.
The Principal and members of Staff then brought those in attendance on a tour of the school buildings and facilities.