Cork city councillors have voted in favour of a proposal to sell council-owned land in Lehenaghmore to the Minister for Education for the sum of €2m.
The sale of the land, situated adjacent to Ashbrook Heights and measuring approximately 1.52 hectares, is to facilitate the development of a new school for South Lee Educate Together National School (ETNS).
In a report to councillors ahead of this evening's full council meeting, Cork City Council’s director of corporate affairs and international relations, Paul Moynihan stated that the Department of Education advised that the school is currently located in interim accommodation on the grounds of the CSN College of Further Education on the Tramore Rd through a lease between the Department of Education and Cork ETB.
“This lease is due to expire at the end of the 2022/23 academic year.
“This land is currently not available for the development of permanent accommodation for South Lee ETNS,” the report stated.
The Department advised that it is intended to accommodate the school on the Ashbrook Heights site in interim accommodation in time for the 2023/24 school year, while the permanent school is being developed.
Several councillors stated that parents of students in the school had been in touch expressing concerns surrounding the development of a new school at the Lehenaghmore
site, particularly in relation to a lack of infrastructure in the area.
Green Party councillor Colette Finn asked that the vote to dispose of the land would be deferred to allow for further discussion and exploration.
However, councillors were informed that a vote could not be deferred.
Fine Gael councillor Shane O’Callaghan said he felt councillors were in a “catch 22” scenario given the lease arrangement for the current school but said he would be “reluctantly” voting in favour of the disposal.
Meanwhile, Fianna Fáil councillor Terry Shannon said councillors were “putting the cart before the horse”.
“There is a whole planning process after this. That’s where the consultation takes place, that’s where all the public meetings can happen – not here at the disposal. This is only step one,” he continued.
The vote to dispose of the land was passed with 18 councillors for and seven voting against it.