Cork parents have requested a meeting with Education Minister Norma Foley over further delays in a long-awaited school campus development.
Carrigtwohill Community College is currently occupying a former office block and recently installed prefabs amid delays to a proposed three-school campus in the area that was promised in 2012.
Delays have plagued the project, but planning approval for the Carrigtwohill campus was granted subject to appeal last April.
Then, on July 2 of this year, parents were informed that Cork County Council had granted planning permission after no appeals were sent to An Bord Pleanála.
However, in response to a query from Cork East Labour TD Seán Sherlock, education minister Norma Foley said the project will not go to tender until early next year.
Speaking to The Echo, a concerned Carrigtwohill parent criticised the delays.
“The school was supposed to be part of the rapid build projects but there has been nothing rapid about it,” she said.
“At this rate, many of the children won’t be in the school by the time the development is finished.
“They’ve been in accommodation that was supposed to be temporary for far too long,” she added.
“We have written to and called the Department of Education seeking a meeting with Minister for Education Norma Foley to highlight the need to move this development along.
Speaking in the Dail this week, local TD Sean Sherlock (Lab) called for the government to take the lead in progressing the development.
“We recognise that there were delays but there has been a significant delay in this project in very general terms,” he said.
“It was announced in 2012 so this has been going on for quite some time now.
“The Government is accountable, no more than we were when we were in government,” he added.
“In light of the delay with the planning application, and given that we now hear there are to be further deliberations on the local road infrastructure, could the Government, as the key stakeholder and the body that will ultimately be issuing the cheques, take the lead in engaging with the third-party developer, the local authority, the education and training board and the local community, which has demonstrated some forbearance regarding this issue, with a view to pressing ahead with the vital project?
“The knock-on effect of missing a quarter regarding progress is that more prefabs will be needed on the school campus come September 2021.” A spokesperson for Cork Education and Training Board, patron of the schools, said: “The Department of Education and Skills has advised that planning permission has been secured for the project and the department’s project management team are currently working on the preparation of the tender document.” The Department of Education was contacted for comment.