THE amalgamation of Ballyroan’s two primary schools has been put on the back burner, with an announcement from the Minister for Education and Skills that the project has not been included in the department’s five-year plan.
Speaking in the Dáil recently, in response to questions from Laois/Offaly TD Brian Stanley, Deputy Ruairí Quinn said:
“Due to competing demands on my Department’s capital budget, imposed by the need to prioritise the limited funding available for the provision of additional school accommodation to meet increasing demographic requirements, it was not possible to include this project in the five year construction programme”.
The Minister went on to say that schools which have not been included in the five year construction programme but which were previously initiated will continue to be progressed to final planning stages in anticipation of the possibility of further funds being available in future years.
“The project referred to by (Deputy Stanley) will remain available to be considered for progression in that context when it has reached the completion of the design stages,” he said.
Ballyroan has two small primary schools, Scoil Faolán Naofa for boys, and Ballyroan GNS, but one new replacement school is urgently needed. The parish have already bought a site, and plans have been drawn up with McCarthy O’Hora architects, now at stage two of design.
Minister Quinn visited Laois recently, to tour the new Portlaoise primary schools campuses at Summerhill and Aghnaharna, and Scoil Bhríde Knockmay. During his visit, the importance of fast-tracking the Ballyroan school was impressed upon him by local councillor Mary Sweeney.