St Vincent's pupils spoke to The Echo about why they are unhappy with the amalgamation plans, amid concerns about how the decision will affect students on the autism spectrum.
Eilish Hickey from Blarney attends the Lir Hub in the secondary school and is one of many students set to be impacted by the changes. The facility will shut its doors and move to the North Presentation building as both secondary schools move forward as a co-educational establishment from 2023.
Eilish said she feels that she and her classmates from the Lir Hub, which offers supports to children with autism, are being treated like statistics and are “not being heard.”
“I feel like everything we created will be left to rot and fade away into the obscurity of history.
"The time we spend to make St Vincent’s what it is means it is not just a building but an experience in a way.”
The 16-year-old said she feels that students like herself are being treated like statistics.
“The Lir Hub wasn’t considered in this process. It’s like the trustees forgot that we aren’t statistics on a sheet and instead are young people whose voices are being ignored-at least in this situation.”
Eilish opened up about the emotional toll the decision has taken.
“I cried when I found out the news. They are basically uprooting a bunch of people who like schedule and routine and throwing them into an unfamiliar situation with no heads up. It is difficult for students finding their place as well as those who are well-established.
"It would be the same as taking a beautiful flower from the soil and planting it in a desert. There’s no way it can be expected to grow in those conditions.”
Eilish’s best friend and classmate at the Lir Hub, Laila Abdelnapy from Cobh said she was also deeply affected by the decision. She described how beneficial the Lir Hub has been for her social and emotional development.
"They made me feel comfortable. I am worried about not being able to focus on the Leaving Cert with everything going on. I also don’t want to be split from my friends.”