Minister for Education, Joe McHugh T.D. paid a visit to Gorey yesterday (Thursday) where he was informed of waiting lists for both Creagh College and Gorey Community School this September causing worry for parents and students, not yet sure of a school place for first year in North Wexford.
Minister McHugh had a meeting with the School Principals, the members of Board’s of Managements and Parent Representives to discuss the need for a new Secondary School in North Wexford.
Cllr Malcolm Byrne, who chairs the Board at Creagh College, said; “We have been warning the Government and Department of Education for a number of years that as North Wexford continued to grow, we would need more places.
“This is a lack of planning and completely unfair to the more than one hundred students now waiting to find out if they have a place in one of the two excellent schools in town.”
Cllr Byrne predicted that a “sticking plaster” solution would be found for 2019, but this would only push the problem to next year.
He concluded, “We need to either extend one or both of the existing schools or build a new school in the area.”
A shortage of secondary school places is looming in North Wexford and the Principals of Gorey’s largest educational establishments, Michael Finn or Gorey Community School and Paul Glynn, Creagh College, are anxious that the matter be brought to the attention of the Department of Education at the earliest convenience.
Minister Michael D’Arcy and Cllrs Malcolm Byrne, Robbie Ireton, Fionntán Ó Súileabháin and Joe Sullivan all addressed a meeting and agreed that difficulties were coming down the line.
Cllr Ireton said that no child should have to go through a lottery system for a school place.
Cllr Ó Súilleabháin, who sits on the board of Creagh College and Colaiste an Átha, outlined the process needed to apply to build a new secondary school and said that with 4,500 children currently enrolled in primary schools in the Gorey district and Gorey’s two post-primary schools near and above capacity there will be a need for a third school as soon as possible.
A public meeting was recently held in the Tara Vie, Courtown, highlighting the need for an additional secondary school in the North Wexford.
The meeting was the brainchild of Elaine Clarke, a concerned mother from Riverchapel, who chaired the meeting and set up an online petition to secure a secondary school in the area.
The meeting was told that there will be just about enough secondary school places for current 4th, 5th and 6th class pupils, but that only remains the case if no new families moved into the North Wexford area in the next three years.
Yesterday, Ms. Clarke outlined the scale and pace that Gorey will grow over the next few years and she also presented Minister McHugh with a petition, signed by 1,187 people, and a proposal as to why the new school should be located in the Riverchapel -Courtown area.