Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan Niamh Smyth has called on the Education Minister to explain why work a school extension at St. Bricin’s in Belturbet has still not been undertaken.
€1.6m in funding was approved in 2013 for the extension, which includes two ASD units for students with special needs, however only minor works have been carried out since then.
Deputy Smyth explained, “The situation at St. Bricin’s is extremely frustrating. The money is there but the work has not been carried out, despite the urgent need for this extension project. St. Bricin’s is an 80 year old building, which is now very dilapidated. There is no sports hall, the woodwork and technology rooms are shared, and break times have to be staggered because the canteen is not big enough to cater for all of the pupils at one time.
“Management at the school are also very concerned about the welfare of special needs students, many of which have come from primary schools with high-quality ASD units. These students are being taught in prefabs in the yard, rather than proper classrooms with the appropriate facilities. This segregation of pupils goes against the ethos of integration, which the school wishes to implement.
“Students living in Belturbet are travelling to other schools outside the catchment area, some as far away as Monaghan, because the facilities at St. Bricin’s are simply not up to scratch. I have spoken with members of the Parents’ Association who outlined their frustrations with these constant delays.
“I also spoke with the Chief Executive of the Cavan and Monaghan Education and Training Board to discuss the lack of progress on this project, and relayed the frustrations of parents and the local community to him.
“In his latest reply to me, Minister Bruton confirmed that his “Department is meeting with the ETB shortly to discuss the progression of a range of projects including the project in question”. I will be following up with the Minister in the coming weeks to try and secure some progress on this project”.
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