26 January 2020
By Elaine Murphy
Another secondary school is urgently needed in East Cork to address a shortage of school places in the region, according to Green Party general election candidate in the area, Cllr. Liam Quaide.
At a meeting of the Midleton/Youghal Municipal Council earlier in the month Cllr. Quaide received support from other Councillors to write collectively to the Department of Education about this issue. He called on the Dept to formally assess the need for a secondary school, and to “quickly initiate a patronage competition” when this need is confirmed. Green Party Deputy Leader Catherine Martin TD had recently submitted a parliamentary question on Cllr Quaide’s behalf which showed that no such formal assessment had taken place, despite growing concern about secondary school places.
“There is only a commitment by the Department of Education to an ongoing, ad hoc review. This is not good enough,” said Green Party Councillor Liam Quaide. “Many families are anxious about whether secondary school places are going to become available in their locality, and about possibly facing long commutes to school and all the disruption that can bring.
“It’s very clear we have a shortage of secondary school places in East Cork. This is adding significant stress and uncertainty to families as they negotiate the challenging transition from primary to secondary school. It’s really important that young people have continuity and choice in their education.”
In 2013 the Department of Education identified the need for an additional secondary school in the East Cork region, but no site was specified at that time. Carrigtwohill, one of the fastest-growing towns in the region, also has long standing issues relating to school places, with the only post-primary school in the area being St Aloysius’ College, an all-girls secondary school.
“Parents are forced to send their kids to schools elsewhere in East Cork or to the city, when they’d much more likely prefer to have them attend a local school,” Councillor Quaide continued. “The people of Carrigtwohill are well aware of this, they’ve been waiting years for the three-school campus that’s been promised.”
The proposed school has been delayed several times since the town was selected as a site for new schools in 2012, with the latest delays coming in May & April of last year.
“Creating a new secondary school for East Cork and giving families choice will be a priority of my work as a TD, if elected to serve the people of Cork East,” Cllr Quaide said.