Despite diggers working on site for the visit of Education Minister Ruairi Quinn, construction of the three new parish schools in Portlaoise will not start until late this year.
Last May Monsignor John Byrne said he hoped contractors would be on site by September, but has now revised that to “hopefully by the end of this calendar year”, as plans are not yet fully completed.
He says the government contract, a ‘fixed price system’, allows no leeway once a price has been agreed with a contractor.
“The details have to be listed down to the last nut and bolt. We are hopefully on the brink of having the plans 100 per cent finalised, so that tenders can be invited. ” he said.
He is hopeful the schools will be open as originally scheduled.
“The best case scenario is September 2015,” he said.
The two 24 classroom schools will amalgamate Sacred Heart, Scoil Mhuire and St Paul’s, on a 10 acre site at Aghnaharna, nearly opposite the town’s other new school buildings. Educate Together, Gaelscoil Phortlaoise and Maryborough NS are due to open this September.