RESIDENTS in Mayfield have vowed to continue to fight against the construction of a school on a local green area.
It has been confirmed that the long-mooted construction of a new building for Gaelscoil An Ghoirt Álainn on the Tank Field will go ahead in the third quarter of this year. The news was revealed in response to a parliamentary question by local TD Jonathan O’Brien, drawing a line under the 11 and a half year saga surrounding the site.
The Tank Field has been the subject of an ongoing battle between local residents and the Department of Education, with residents keen to preserve what is viewed as the only viable green space in the entire area.
Brendan Goggin, speaking on behalf of the Murmont Residents’ Association and the Montenotte Park Residents’ Association, said that the community won’t give up the fight.
“We continue to be vehemently opposed to privatising the Tank Field,” he said.
“This is a public open space and we are still opposed to this agenda of privatising it.”
There was fresh anger in 2017 when it emerged that the former Scoil Naomh Eoin Aspal building, located on the Old Youghal Road, would be occupied by St Killian’s, a school previously located in Bishopstown.
At its height, Scoil Naomh Eoin Aspal housed almost 800 pupils, though its numbers dwindled to just 70, prompting an amalgamation with the nearby girls’ school Scoil Mhuire Banríon on Boherboy Road.
Locals felt that the vacant building would be ideal for the expanding Gaelscoil An Ghoirt Álainn, though no agreement was reached between the Department of Education and the Diocese of Cork and Ross.
Mr Goggin said, “This was a waste of public money, a waste of €5 million.”
The news that of the construction of the school has been welcomed by local councillors, though some questions still remain.
Fianna Fáil’s Tim Brosnan said that the school is badly needed in an area of growing population, but added that there are valid concerns over the whole process to date.
“I think that there are a number of issues,” he said.
“People probably wouldn’t have an issue with building on part of the Tank Field but closing off walkways and access routes is a problem. I think the whole plan, the part 8 process, was unclear from the start and it created a lot of resentment in the area.
“The school has valid planning permission and I would hope that if it starts construction in September that it would be completed by the following year so that the children can get out of their prefabs and into a proper facility.”