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Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - County Donegal School.

Wednesday, 5 October 1966

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 224 No. 5

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20.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte asked the Minister for Education if he will reconsider his decision relative to Portleen national school, County Donegal in view of the expressed wishes of the local community that a new school be built in the area.

Mr. O'Malley: Portleen is one of a number of one-teacher schools in the Ramelton area under Protestant management. The future provision for the education of the pupils concerned is being discussed with the appropriate Church authorities so as to ensure that the best educational facilities possible can be provided. I hope to be in a position to put forward firm proposals following these discussions.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon Zoom on James Matthew Dillon Would the Minister say if it is present to his mind that in an area such as Ramelton, in Donegal, [628] and similar areas in North Monaghan and North Cavan, it is vitally important to discuss such proposals, not only with the appropriate ecclesiastical authorities but with the parents of the children so that they may be kept fully informed?

Mr. O'Malley: Yes; what the Deputy suggests is, in fact, done. When the Department decide to amalgamate certain schools, they write to the manager, who gives his observations and if he makes further queries, an inspector usually has a personal discussion with him on the site. The manager always presents the proposals to the parents concerned.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon Zoom on James Matthew Dillon It is for that reason that I asked the supplementary question. The Minister may be led to believe that there is adequate communication with the parents, once discussion has taken place with the manager. What I am asking for is a reassurance from the Minister, especially in regard to categories of places such as Ramelton, that he will satisfy himself that there is adequate discussion, not only with the manager but with the parents of the children as well. I can assure him that is a matter of urgent and vital importance, particularly in these areas.

Mr. O'Malley: I take it that the operative word in the Deputy's question is “adequate” discussion?

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon Zoom on James Matthew Dillon What I mean is that the Minister should see that a senior inspector of his Department will give public notice that he is going to attend in a parish or district and that he is prepared to meet the parents of the children to get their views so that these views may be fully submitted to the Minister before a final decision is made.

Mr. O'Malley: That has been done and, indeed, is done in many cases. For instance, this week a senior inspector of my Department is in the country addressing meetings of parents——

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon Zoom on James Matthew Dillon That is excellent.

Mr. O'Malley: ——to explain the [629] position. On the other hand, I should like to explain that there are other cases when the Department notifies the Reverend Manager and when he, perhaps in the church, informs the parishioners that such amalgamation is taking place and where there is no need for discussion. This has happened. We are quite willing in all cases to have on-the-spot discussions between the parents and a senior inspector from my Department. In that connection, it has been found in regard to transport, for instance, that local knowledge is of inestimable value to us, in regard to routes which are to be taken and the number of children to be picked up in various areas.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon Zoom on James Matthew Dillon It is immensely important.

Mr. Spring: Information on Daniel Spring Zoom on Daniel Spring In County Kerry we have had a number of children who have been away from school since 1st July because the school has been closed down. A number of children were transferred to Annascaul school and others to another school, and yet there has been no decision in regard to the provision of transport. Will the Minister now make up his mind as to whether transport will be provided for these 12 or 14 children?


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