The awarding of the joint-patronage of Portlaoise's new bi-lingual secondary school to the Laois Offaly Education and Training Board (ETB) was welcomed at the recent meeting of the Portlaoise Municipal District.
Cllr Caroline Dwane Stanley proposed a motion calling on the council to welcome the new school, which will be co-patroned by the Irish language group which runs Gaelcholáiste.
“The schools are jampacked and the spaces are badly needed,” said Cllr Dwane Stanley, who is a member of the ETB. She credited her fellow councillors with also raising the issue before.
She said that she had been out canvassing over the summer for a Gaelcholáiste and the new school would also mark the beginningIrish speaking secondary education.
Saying that the ETB had the facilities and capacity, she remarked that the new school needed to be open by next year.
Regarding suitable premises for the new school, Cllr Dwane Stanley said that the ETB have existing buildings, including the old technical college.
Cllr Mary Sweeney said there was huge demand for the new school and there were great hopes it would be ready to start by next September.
Cllr Jerry Lodge said that each councillor had clambered for assistance for a new Gaelcholáiste.
He said that had they applied for a Gaelcholáiste alone it may not have happened, but as part of the ETB it had been achieved.
Cllr Catherine Fitzgerald said the new school was badly needed to the town, adding: “There’s a frightening need for school spaces.”
Cllr Willie Aird said that as some existing school buildings would soon be vacant perhaps these buildings could be used for now.
He said that the population of Portlaoise has grown in recent times, something which could be judged by waiting list for housing.