Dáil Éireann - Volume 568 - 10 June, 2003

Written Answers. - School Accommodation.

  418. Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Science his proposals to meet the accommodation needs at primary and second level at each of the schools in Celbridge, County Kildare; the degree to which achievements have been made in this regard in 2003 or are anticipated; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16045/03]

  Minister for Education and Science (Mr. N. Dempsey): At primary level my Department [318] recently grant aided the construction of a new eight-classroom primary school, with an autistic unit, for the north Kildare Educate Together national school. In addition, my Department recently sanctioned grant aid towards the rental of temporary accommodation at Scoil na Mainistreach in order to meet its immediate accommodation needs. My Department will continue to monitor enrolments at primary level in the Celbridge area and any additional requirements will be addressed as expeditiously as possible.

  At post-primary level, my Department is satisfied that the level of accommodation in place at St. Wolstan's community school is sufficient to meet the school's requirements in the medium term. My Department has also acknowledged the need for increased provision at the Salesian college and a long-term projected enrolment figure on which the accommodation needs will be based has been agreed with the school management authorities. However, given the level of financial commitments to be met from projects already in construction, I do not envisage that my Department will be in a position to initiate architectural planning of the project during 2003. The project will, however, be considered in the context of the capital programme for 2004.

  419. Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Science his plans to meet accommodation requirements at primary and second level schools in the short to medium term, having regard to population increases in the Naas, Sallins and Kill areas of County Kildare; if, in the course of his consultations with the various school authorities concerned, he has devised a plan to ensure a positive response; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16046/03]

  Minister for Education and Science (Mr. N. Dempsey): My Department is aware of the emerging school accommodation requirements at primary and post-primary level in the areas referred to by the Deputy.

  At primary level short-term needs are being met, where possible, by the provision of temporary accommodation. The medium to long-term needs of the primary schools are also being addressed by way of building projects for a new school in Naas and a major extension at Sallins. However, while these projects are progressing through architectural planning and are assigned a high priority rating, they are not being authorised to progress beyond their current stage of architectural planning for the time being. Further progress on these projects will depend on the budgetary allocation for 2004 and subsequent years. My Department has also acknowledged the need for additional primary provision in Kill. However, my Department does not intend to allow further large-scale projects into architectural planning during 2003.

  At post-primary level, Kill and Sallins form part of the Naas catchment area. Following an evaluation of post-primary school accommo[319] dation requirements in the area, building projects were approved for all three schools in Naas. The long-term projected enrolment figures on which these proposed projects are based have been agreed with the school management authorities and these projects are now at various stages of development. The progress of these projects will depend on the financial allocation for 2004 and subsequent years. It is envisaged that, when these projects are completed, there will be sufficient accommodation to meet future needs at post-primary level in the Naas catchment area, including Kill and Sallins. However, the position will be kept under review by the planning section of my Department in the light of enrolment and demographic trends in the area.