Minister Flanagan announces new Portlaoise school for children with special needs

Minister Flanagan announces new Portlaoise school for children with special needs
By Conor Ganly conor.ganly@leinsterexpress.ie@laoisnews

Laois TD and Government Minister Charlie Flanagan has announced that a new school is to be built in in Portlaoise to cater for children with learning disabilities.

Minister Flanagan told the Leinster Express that a brand new school would be built on the site of the soon to be vacated St Paul's Boys Naitonal School on Portlaoise's Borris Road.

The new building will replace the outdated St Francis School on the Timahoe Road in Portlaoise.

A timeframe of 2018 was given by the Minister.

Minister Flanagan said the new school was important, not just for the children who would be educated there but also because it is another piece in the jigsaw of the moderisation of schools in Portlaoise.

Several new schools have been built in the past decade with two new primary schools due to open in the coming months.

St Francis caters for children, aged 5-18 with learning disabilities, from Laois and surrounding counties.

Several problems have been highlighted with the existing 40 year-old flat roof building.

Parents had demanded a replacement. Their concers focused on the health and safety of pupils caused by poor heating, dampness and other issues.

The building is also said to out of date as it does not have the facilties needed to educate children with special needs.

There were concerns that the school would be relocated to the existing St Paul's School but parents said this would not be usable as it is a two storey building.