PARENTS in Carrigtwohill have called for progress on a proposed three-school campus to prevent thousands of children in the area being forced to attend prefabs for years to come.
Carrigtwohill Community College, Scoil Cliodhna CNS and Scoil Mhuire Naofa have been forced to turn away students in recent years due to a lack of capacity and over-dependency on prefabs.
The Department of Education and Skills selected Carrigtwohill for a new three-school campus, which would house the three schools, in 2012 when it was scheduled under “rapid build projects”.
Seven years later, however, the Cork Education and Training Board (CETB) project is still awaiting planning permission.
“In the interests of the children and staff here in Carrigtwohill, the need for this three-school campus and new facilities is of paramount importance,” said Mary O’Connor, chairperson of the Carrigtwohill Community School parents’ association.
“We’re now at the stage where planning permission has gone in but we waited years to get here.
“We don’t want to be waiting years for it to get started now,” she added.
The DES submitted planning documents in March but its application was rejected by county council planners because it contained a litany of mistakes.
The department’s plans, which include a 24-room primary school, another 16-room one and a 700 student capacity secondary school, were supposed to have been lodged several months ago.
However, they were held up and when they were eventually lodged council planners were forced to reject them due to a number of discrepancies.
“That was the straw that broke the camel’s back,” said Ms O’Connor.
“We were so frustrated, we called a meeting between the three parents councils and decided to march through the streets on May 1 to highlight the delays.
“We heard that day that planning permission has been sought again and we’re hopeful now that it will get over the line,” she added.
“The Community School is set to go into prefabs in September and we’re hopeful they won’t have to spend more than a year there.”
Scoil Cliodhna CNS is based in prefabs on the local GAA grounds while Scoil Mhuire Naofa has a main building and satellite prefabs on its grounds.
“There is huge community support for this school campus to go ahead,” said Ms O’Connor.
“We’re hopeful that the planning application will be approved and that construction can begin as soon as possible.
“The staff in the three schools are fantastic, they can’t do enough for the children, but they need better facilities and resources,” she added.
The Community School parents association met last night (Monday) to discuss the delays in the project.