Dáil Éireann - Volume 321 - 03 June, 1980

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Dún Laoghaire School of Art and Design.

22. Mr. E. Collins asked the Minister for Education if his attention has been drawn to the grave concern regarding the future of the School of Art and Design at Dún Laoghaire; and if he will outline his intentions regarding the designation of this school under the National Council for Educational Awards Act, 1979.

Mr. Wilson: As indicated in my reply of 23 October 1979, I have authorised certain interim arrangements in the case of the institution in question. These arrangements came into effect on 1 September 1979.

The question of the future long-term status of the school will be considered in the context of the recommendations make by the Higher Education Authority on the development of third level education in the Greater Dublin region.

The question of the designation of the school for the purpose of section 20 of the National Council for Educational Awards Act, 1979, will be considered in due course.

Mr. E. Collins: Is the Minister aware of the serious discontent among students and among the members of the VEC in relation to the Dún Laoghaire School of Art and Design? Is he aware that two applicants who had been selected and recommended to him for appointment as principal have been turned down and that the VEC members are seriously disturbed about what is happening in the school, which is utter chaos?

[1347] Mr. Wilson: I am aware that a principal was selected who had no knowledge or experience of art or art education, and that the other principal selected did not have the necessary years experience for qualification. I do not accept there is chaos in the area. I have had meetings with parents, students and the VEC. If anything, I have brought order from chaos and I hope to be able to keep it like that.

Mr. E. Collins: Is it not a fact that the first person was fully qualified according to Memorandum V.7 and that the decision caused controversy? When will the Minister be in a position to finalise the status of the school? What is going on there is not satisfactory from an educational point of view.

Mr. Wilson: I am sure the art education being imparted is of a very high standard and that the people of Dún Laoghaire respect it. With regard to when the status of the school will be determined, it will be in connection with the establishment of RTCs for the Dublin region.

Mr. E. Collins: Is the Minister considering establishing this school with the status level of an RTC?

Mr. Wilson: The proposal is that it will be a third level institution.

Mr. E. Collins: Will it have full degree-awarding powers?

Mr. Wilson: It is proposed that it will be in the third level rather than the second level area.