Cork school build still on course

The Department of Education still intends to build a new home for a gaelscoil on Cork’s northside but says it has to complete the acquisition of the site from the city council before work can begin.

The department has also confirmed it is in talks with Catholic bishop of Cork and Ross John Buckley about the use of a nearby school building in Mayfield “for education purposes” when it becomes vacant this summer. However, it said it has no plans to relocate Gaelscoil an Ghoirt Álainn to the facilities of Scoil Eoin Aspal, which will amalgamate with another Catholic primary school later this year, although it is not certain if this rules out any temporary move.

The gaelscoil’s board has told parents it fully expects to remain in its temporary accommodation in prefabs next to the Tank Field until the new school is built on part of the field, which is owned by the council.

The school has asked for planning permission to continue using the prefabs for up to four years. However, before it decides the application, Cork City Council had asked the department to confirm if the Scoil Eoin Aspal building would be suitable for the gaelscoil and its 330 pupils on a temporary or long-term basis.

The department told the Irish Examiner that the building project is at an advanced stage of architectural planning, and it has worked closely with the council to procure a permanent site for Gaelscoil an Ghoirt Álainn.

“There is no diminution to the department’s commitment to progression of the project to tender and construction once the site conveyancing is completed. The acquisition is currently at an advanced stage of the conveyancing process and is expected to complete shortly,” a spokesperson said.

While the building works would take about 18 months, a start date depends on the Tank Field site being acquired by the department. It secured an extension last September to planning permission granted in 2011.

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