Baby boom sparks school crisis in Limerick

Deputy Kieran O'Donnell outside Monaleen National School
Deputy Kieran O’Donnell outside Monaleen National School

WITH the population of the City East area increasing steadily, Limerick Fine Gael TD Kieran O’Donnell has called for the fast-tracking of a major new school development for Monaleen National School.

And he claims that in the light of a large projected increase in student numbers, the current situation is “unsustainable”.

Deputy O’Donnell pointed out that more local children are seeking to enrol at the Monaleen school than it has room for. He is now calling for the Department of Education to agree funding for the school development to avert a crisis next year.

“This is a serious situation. The fact of the matter is that eight of the school’s 27 classrooms are already in prefabs, but the school is now faced with the prospect of having substantially higher numbers of children enrolling annually that it has taken previously,” said the Monaleen-based TD.

According to a demographics expert, the population of children between the ages of four and 12 in the parish is expected to virtually double in the next ten years. O’Donnell has raised the issue with the Department of Education and claims he is hopeful the situation will be addressed.

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“The crux of the matter is that in order to accommodate this increase in student numbers, Monaleen NS simply needs more accommodation. The school cannot put more children in prefabs without an agreement with the Department of Education on a substantial development programme for new school facilities,” Deputy O’Donnell explained.

The primary school has submitted plans to the Department of Education for a redevelopment of the school in three phases. This redevelopment will lead to new school facilities that will accommodate the demands of the growing school going population of Monaleen.

“I have had positive engagements with the Department of Education on behalf of the school in relation to this, and have asked that the school building project be fast-tracked to allow the first phase of development to get underway.

“This consists of eight new mainstream classrooms which are urgently required. I would be hopeful that the proposal will be accepted by the Department,” he concluded.