Politicians welcome planning approval

Senator John Whelan has welcomed the news of planning approval for Portlaoise parish’s new schools.

Senator John Whelan has welcomed the news of planning approval for Portlaoise parish’s new schools.

“This is a good news day for Portlaoise and for local parents and pupils. For twenty years now, children and teachers have been putting up with unsatisfactory conditions. The infamous prefab has really taken over school campuses and playgrounds. That will soon be a thing of the past. I want to pay tribute to Monsignor Byrne for his dedication and perseverance, and the patience of all the boards of management and parents. Hopefully construction will go ahead unimpeded, and I look forward to future generations being schooled in suitable conditions,” he said.

Laois Offaly TD Brian Stanley has also welcomed the planning approval for the parish schools, but urges speed on construction.

“This is a significant step forward for this badly needed project. The ball is now firmly back in the Department of Education’s court and the schools now need to move on to the construction stage. The three parish schools are under enormous pressure and are operating in totally inadequate buildings. The parish schools need to be opening by September 2014 at the latest.

He is urging progress also at Scoil Bhride Knockmay, who were granted planning permission last year for a new 32 classroom building. However the Dept of Education do not plan to build at Knockmay until 2014/5.

“With over 700 pupils and only 8 permanent classrooms, the situation is intolerable. 28 classes are housed in temporary prefabs and I intend to continue lobbying for this to commence,” Dep Stanley said.