Galway students could be refused access to Irish-language education due to delays in the construction of a new school building.
While a new premises for Gaelscoil de hÍde in Oranmore has been placed on the Department of Education’s build programme, it is now feared that work on the new school may not begin for a number of years, casting doubt over the fate of future applicants.
A meeting on the situation will take place on Thursday 10 January and school management have said they are now at “crisis point” as they face the prospect of refusing entry to a large number of new students.
Gaelscoil de hÍde, which was founded in 1994, currently has a student population of 292 children and 20 staff, all housed in temporary accommodation with no playground space or other resource facilities.
It has received 75 applications for September 2013 but staff have said that their only option at present is the continuation of a school that does not meet the department’s own regulations on space per pupil and has an “extreme lack” of playground facilities.
They also stated that, until the new building is put in place, they will have to continue paying €200,000 in annual rental and site development per annum and, while 97 per cent of this expenditure is reimbursed by the Department, it is “still a serious and unrecoverable loss to the State”.
Gaelscoil de hÍde draws its school population from both Galway West and Galway East and the school community is now urging all local political representatives, as well as parents and supporters, to attend next Thursday’s meeting at 8.30pm and support a campaign to have the school building project treated as a priority, with a build programme to commence as early as possible in 2013.