A NEW planning application is expected to be lodged for Cork Educate Together Secondary School this month.
Pre-planning meetings have been held between the Department of Education and Cork City Council regarding the development at a greenfield site in the department’s ownership at Maryborough, Douglas.
Cork Educate Together Secondary School opened in August 2016, initially in rented rooms in Nagle Community College, Mahon, before moving in 2018 to Griffith College, where it is still located. The proposed new development will provide accommodation for 600 pupils, along with a three-classroom special education needs unit.
An initial application for planning permission was lodged in August 2018 and was refused by the local authority, which at that time was Cork County Council. The Department of Education appealed this decision to An Bord Pleanála in June 2019, but the decision was upheld.
“The timeline for the delivery of this project has been impacted by difficulties in obtaining planning permission,” a spokesperson for the Department of Education told The Echo.
“Due to a change in the local government boundary arrangements in Cork, the site at Maryborough is now within the environs of Cork City Council, which involves a new planning application.
“Pre-planning meetings have been held with the local authority and it is anticipated that the new planning application will be lodged in April 2022,” the spokesperson said.
“It is not possible to provide a timeframe for the progression of the project to tender and construction stages until such time as the necessary statutory approvals have been secured. The department will continue to address the interim accommodation requirements for the school and to keep the patron body and the school updated.”
Sinn Féin education spokesperson Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire said he is disappointed with the Taoiseach’s lack of leadership on a new building.
“Cork Educate Together Secondary School, since its establishment six years ago, have not spent a single day within their designated catchment area. The department spends €80-90,000 per year on school transport, bringing them to their current site.
"Students who started secondary school in the school’s first year are doing their Leaving Cert this year. This has gone on far too long.
"The Taoiseach needs to use his role as the head of Government to put pressure on the minister for education to get this planning application in, and progress the new school building for Cork ETSS. They were promised this would happen toward the middle to end of last year.”