Portlaoise learning disabilities school build start set out by education minister

Leinster Express Reporter

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St. Francis School, Portlaoise.

The current site of St Francis School, Portlaoise.

Minister Richard Bruton gives up date to Laois TD Sean Fleming

Construction of a new home for a school for children with learning disabilities in Portlaoise is expected to begin in early 2018, according to the Minister for Education.

The status of the project was raised with Minister Richard Bruton in the Dáil this month by Laois TD Seán Fleming.

"When planning is secured, the project will progress to tender. The project will thereafter proceed to construction which is expected to be in Quarter 1 of 2018," said the Minister.

The plan is for the school to transfer from the New Road to a purpose built building on the site of the old St. Paul's Primary School, Borris Road, Portlaoise. Laois County Council granted planning permission recently.

"The Parish and the Board of Management and all involved in the school have worked for a very long period of time to improve the facilities for the students in this special school. This will now be a reality sooner rather than later," said Dep Fleming.

The Fianna Fáil TD said this is good news for primary level education in Portlaoise. He also welcomed the opening in September of the new Parish Holy Family Primary Schools at Aughnaharna and a new school building at Scoil Bhride in Knockmay.

St Francis is a school for children with learning disabilities. It is a co-educational day school, under the patronage of the Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin.

Children who have been psychologically assessed and referred to the school are admitted following a meeting with the child's parents/guardians. 

Parents of current and past pupils have been to the fore in campaigning for a new building on the basis that the existing premises is no longer fit for purpose.