School capacity in North County Dublin leaving parents in limbo for 2017 admission - O’Reilly
Sinn Féin TD for Dublin Fingal Louise O’Reilly raised the issue of over-subscription and lack of sufficient capacity in schools in North County Dublin with the Minister for Education Richard Bruton today in the Dáil. Deputy O’Reilly read the stories of a number of families from her area into the record of the Dáil to highlight the problem.
Speaking during the topical issue debate, Deputy O’Reilly said:
“Minister, I am raising this topical issue with you given the incredible urgency that exists to increase capacity in Dublin Fingal and schools in North County Dublin where, currently, parents are being told that there are no places for their children in September.
“Parents are contacting me in large volumes worried sick that they have nowhere to send their child; that there are no places; these children are too old for pre-school placements and that there are no alternatives. They are being told, years after putting down their children’s names that, come September, their efforts were redundant: there’s no room and they can’t be taken.
“Fingal is the fastest growing county in the country. We have a growing young population. This problem is only going to get worse.
“For many parents, a sibling in the school doesn’t even guarantee a place in a school. This is happening right across the constituency and is not isolated to one area.
“Problems are rolling over from one year to the next and having knock on effects. Problems getting one cohort into school in one year means these children are applying again the next year as older children, thus cutting off further children getting a place that year. It is a cyclical problem.
“What Minister, do you plan to do on this? Clearly there is an under capacity that needs to be addressed. Future planning is needed. But action is required urgently.”
Speaking after the debate, Deputy O’Reilly said:
“Capacity identified in one school will not be enough to address the demand that exists for the whole area. While the Minister’s department are assessing the demographic pressures and demand for places in the area, there is not enough action being taken to guarantee places and to ensure that no child will be left without a school place come September. While the Minister has advised that he will get his Department to recheck the statistics, he also needs to ensure there is a plan in place to ensure school places are available.”