Fresh Tank Field anger

Fresh Tank Field anger
The Tank Field. Pic; Larry Cummins, /Evening Echo staff

MAYFIELD residents have expressed anger at the revelation that a local school building is to be occupied by a southside primary school while nearby Gaelscoil an Ghoirt Álainn pursues plans to build a new €5m development on a nearby green area.

The Scoil Naomh Eoin Aspal building, located on the Old Youghal Road, is soon to be vacated as it amalgamates with nearby Scoil Mhuire Banríon next September.

Residents who have been campaigning for decades to preserve an area of green space, known locally as the Tank Field, had hoped that the empty building would provide an ideal alternative home for the local gaelscoil and thereby save the green as a local amenity.

However, it has now emerged that Bishopstown-based school, St Killian’s, which specialises in providing programmes for pupils with a range of educational difficulties, will move to Mayfield in the new school year.

The Diocese of Cork and Ross, which has responsibility for the soon-to-be vacant building, said the current enrolment at St Killian’s is drawn from across Cork city with significant enrolment from the northside.

“This new location will enable St Killian’s to continue serving its pupils in an educational environment, encompassing a wide range of amenities which will enable it to expand and enrich the teaching and learning opportunities which it currently offers,” the diocese said.

“It will also ensure that it is located on its own campus.”

The decision has left campaigners furious, as they argue it does not make sense to move a school across the city when a school in that locality is seeking a building.

“We understand the concern of the Diocesan Office not to leave the St John’s school building lying empty when the school closes in June,” a spokesperson from the Save the Tank Field campaign said.

“However it makes no sense to move a school from Bishopstown, six miles to Mayfield, rather than move the Gaelscoil a half mile down the road and at the same time spend €5 million of scarce public money on an unnecessary new building for it.”

Deputy Lord Mayor Cllr Joe Kavanagh, who last week made representations to Minister for Education Richard Bruton on the case, said he is deeply disappointed “The Tank Field is the only flat, empty green space in the North East ward and it has always been my hope that it would be developed into an amenity park for the public,” he said.

“I’m disappointed that a building which has been maintained at the taxpayer’s expense is not being used by the gaelscoil which would be a win-win for everybody.

“Residents would maintain their green area, students would get a good building and the taxpayer would save money,” Cllr Kavanagh added.

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