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Department Officials Asked To Clarify Timeline For Temporary Accommodation At Schools In Blessington And Greystones

Wicklow TD Jennifer Whitmore has expressed her frustration Blessington Community College still does not have any certainty as to whether their temporary student accommodation, needed for September 23, will be in place in time.

Deputy Whitmore raised the issue of the accommodation application made by the school in the Dáil with the Junior Minister for Education during a topical issue debate.

 Deputy Whitmore said:

“The response from the Minster today, on behalf of Minster Foley, was woefully inadequate. Blessington Community College has applied for four existing prefab buildings to be replaced which were in poor condition, and also for two further general classrooms in order to accommodate all the students enrolled from September 2023. I submitted this Topical issue in order to get a meaningful update for the school, and the response from the Minister was totally inadequate.

"Minister Byrne told me that “it is a matter for schools to progress these projects”. Blessington Community College has been going through the process for this project for months now, following all the required steps as laid out by the department, and yet still they have not been given clarity if they have gotten the classrooms they need. I pressed the Minister and asked if he would commit to making sure this school would have the rooms it needs for its student population by September. He could give no such commitment and now the school is heading into the summer period in a state of limbo.

"Parents and teachers have been talking to us about the urgent need for these additional classrooms since last February. We are now nine weeks away from the start of the new school year and there is still uncertainty about whether there will be enough classrooms to accommodate all of this year’s students.

“Classrooms are the most basic of accommodation needs for a school and the fact that the Minister thinks it is acceptable to leave schools with uncertainty about their class sizes for next year is just galling.

“I raised this issue for Blessington Community College alongside a similar query for Temple Carrig, which was also not addressed fully by the Minister. I will continue to pursue the department to support these schools in their applications for additional classroom accommodation which they need for their students.”, concludes Whitmore


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