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Adjournment Debate. - Ramelton (Donegal) School Extension.

Tuesday, 8 October 1996

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 469 No. 5

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[1675]Dr. McDaid: Information on James McDaid Zoom on James McDaid I thank the Ceann Comhairle for allowing me to raise this matter on the Adjournment. I tabled a number of questions to the Minister on this school because it is a matter of grave urgency which needs to be rectified before September.

The school was built in 1958 but the rooms in it are too small. There are two rooms with four classes in each and it is easy to understand how overcrowding could occur. The concerns are ongoing and the matter has become urgent. The situation for the staff and pupils is becoming intolerable and parents are concerned at the overcrowding. These are essential and urgent requirements and I trust that by raising the issue again the Minister will see the urgency and give a positive reply. The Department of Education has the facts and figures and I have received correspondence in the last month regarding the school.

The school consists of two small rooms, six metres by five metres, and each caters for four classes. Currently it is a two teacher school and there are 44 pupils but by 1999 the number will increase to 66 pupils which will make it a three teacher school. There is no room for these pupils. The money involved in this exercise is not exorbitant, but it is urgent in view of the current overcrowding and timeframe involved.

Minister of State at the Department of Social Welfare (Mr. Durkan): Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan I thank the Deputy for affording me the opportunity, on behalf of the Minister for Education, to reply to the issue raised.

I would like to outline to the House the Department of Education's current position regarding Ramelton No. 2 national school, Letterkenny. The school has a current staffing level of principal and one assistant teacher with an enrolment of 45 pupils on 30 September 1995. The school's current [1676] accommodation consists of two permanent classrooms. The school has requested that each of the classrooms be extended.

In February 1996, the school authorities requested grant-aid towards the cost of extending the two classrooms. The Department's planning section has advised that the school's accommodation requirements will be two classrooms plus appropriate ancillary accommodation. A costing has been requested from the Department's professional advisers for the extension sought. When this costing has been received, the Department will be in touch with the school authorities on the matter.

I assure the Deputy that the Department of Education is anxious to see satisfactory accommodation at Ramelton No. 2 national school. However, any development proposals must have regard to available financial resources and other priority projects.

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