Portlaoise parish’s biggest primary school building project has suffered another delay, confirmed by PP Monsignor John Byrne .
The 1,400 pupils of the new Junior and Senior Holy Family schools will now have to stay in their old school buildings until after the Christmas holidays.
“We are hoping for completion of the project in December,” said Msgr Byrne.
Delays by Sammon Construction at the Aghnaharna site are due to “technical reasons” and outside of the parish's control, he said.
A backup plan to finish the junior school by September, and the senior school by January, has been scrapped.
“That ship has sailed. When it was clear it was not possible to occupy the junior school in September, the decision was made to move at the same time,” he said.
He is hopeful that the new deadline can be met.
“I am extremely hopeful, but how certain am I, that’s another question,” he said.
The two principals will start their new roles working across two school buildings.
“It is an unfortunate start,” agreed Msgr Byrne.
Junior school principal is Des Sutton, former principal of St Paul’s NS, will teach in Scoil Mhuire and Sacred heart buildings.
Enda Hickey, former principal of Sacred Heart heads up the Senior school, in St Paul’s and in a two storey prefab on the old church site.
The new schools will be full before they even open.
“They are chock a block, there are 47 classes between the three schools, and they are all oversubscribed. The new buildings will have 48 classrooms,” he said.
Requests for the dept to fund an extension during the existing build did not work. The parish will apply again after the school opens.
The new campus includes a sports hall and pitches.
“I was on site this morning, and it is shaping up to be an extremely fine campus. I am really looking forward to occupying the site. It is very exciting, everything is top class. I am sorry we have to wait, but this is hopefully a temporary setback,” Msgr Byrne said.