Comments on the Conditions of Gaelscoil An Ghoirt Álainn
2. “One wonders why a visit to the school was not made. Perhaps Dr Byrne might then have written of the appalling physical conditions in which children are being educated in post-boom Ireland. Perhaps she would have written of the spirit of inclusion in Gaelscoil An Ghoirt Álainn, of the diversity and innovation, of the possibilities for tolerance for children irrespective of their background. She chose not to.”
“She would have learnt amongst other things about the conditions the children and staff have to endure each day – namely small unsuitable class rooms, inadequate toilet facilities and leaking roofs. The school cannot use excellent science and library equipment purchased from money fund raised by a dedicated parents committee as all this equipment is in storage and cannot be accessed due to lack of space.”
From what has been stated by correspondents in letters to me, the conditions which children and staff have to endure each day in Gaelscoil An Ghoirt Álainn are absolutely appalling. I have not seen the conditions at first hand but I accept the statements as true and I am appalled that children have to attend school in such conditions.
When Gaelscoil An Ghoirt Álainn was originally applying to establish temporary accommodation on the Tank Field, assurances were given to the local residents that this would be a temporary measure and it would not result in an application for a permanent structure. On this basis, the residents did not object to the application.
Gaelscoil An Ghoirt Álainn made the decision in 2002 not to build on an available site at Tinker’s Cross, Mayfield (also referred to in some documents as Mayfield Cross but it is the same site). Links attached:
This site was considered suitable by the Department of Education and Science;
The Board of Management of Gaelscoil An Ghoirt Álainn deemed it suitable and wanted it for the school;
The City Council, the owners of the site, agreed to sell it.
In 2002, the Gaelscoil, in conjunction with the GAA club (Brian Dillons), changed its position and pursued the site at the Tank Field. Its plans for building the school were not produced until late 2006, eight years after they had initially located in the prefabs in the car park of the GAA club.
Those concerned with keeping the Tank Field as an open green flat space for public use have used every opportunity to state that they wished to see the Gaelscoil in proper modern accommodation. The issue in the community is not with a permanent building, rather it is with the location whereby the flat, green, open space will be built upon and thereby a very important local amenity will be removed permanently.
If the Gaelscoil had proceeded with the site in Tinker’s/Mayfield Cross or another suitable alternative instead of engaging to get the public space in the Tank Field, it would likely have had a permanent building a number of years ago and consequently, the children and staff would not have to endure those appalling conditions each day.
The successive boards of management of the school and the Department of Education and Science must accept responsibility for poor decision making in relation to the Tank Field and the delays in providing a permanent building. I am informed that the Tinker’s/Mayfield Cross site is still available and still owned by the City Council.
Two other attached documents above further show the missed opportunities. They refer to a planning application for a special school on a site adjacent to Tinker’s/Mayfield Cross. This requires more space than the Gaelscoil and clearly could have accommodated it. The planning permission was granted for the special school and the building is going ahead. That site was available up to last year and could have been availed of by the Gaelscoil had they not been intent on pursuing the site on the Tank Field.