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  • Senator Sharon Keogan

Senator Sharon Keogan — Education Needs of Duleek

I was going to go parochial, so I am disappointed the Minister left. However, it is great to have the Minister of State, Deputy Thomas Byrne, here, because he knows exactly what I am talking about.

I wish to raise the issue of the boys and girls primary school in Duleek. It has had ongoing issues with rectification works since 2015. It is a state-of-the-art, brand new school. The retention money was paid to the contractors before a satisfaction note was signed off by the board of management, which is absolutely crazy. We are now in 2023 and those matters have not been resolved. I believe they applied for planning permission today for the extension. Hopefully, as part of the extension works, those retention works will be completed this year. It is not good enough that our standards are not being met when we are building state-of-the-art schools and shoddy work is being done by contractors around the country.

I wish to raise another issue as well in relation to Stamullen and Stadalt House. We have 25 children there since September who have been unable to access school transport to a primary school in Ardcath. The local schools are full and could not take the Ukrainian children. I have been shouting at every Department to try to get those school children a bus since November. Every single week I am sending an email to the school transport section. It seems ridiculous. Communities are embracing our Ukrainian children and Ukrainian families. It is important that we have the services to meet their needs. If the Minister of State can do anything, I would appreciate that.

The Minister of State knows we have a 23-acre site for a secondary school in Duleek. There is nothing stopping the Department doing a scoping exercise there for the delivery of a secondary school on that site. The church has said it is willing to hand over that site to the Department to build the schoo. It has access to both roads – Station Road and the business park road. There is no reason we cannot deliver a secondary school there. All the schools in Drogheda are already full. The Educate Together in Grange Rath is full, as well as the secondary school in Laytown.

There is a need for secondary schools that take in the areas of Donore, Knockcommon, Rathfeigh, Kentstown, Skreen, Ardcath and Cushinstown. The Minister of State will know the feeder schools. I would like him to put this matter on his agenda when he leaves the Chamber. He is the Minister of State and represents that area. Please bring us a secondary school. I guarantee him every single person in Duleek will vote for him if he delivers that school.

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