School buildings for almost 1,300 children from pre-school to Leaving Certificate are to begin construction next year in the Cork town of Carrigaline.
Planning permission granted this month by An Bord Pleanála was first sought over 18 months ago by Cork Education and Training Board, which is managing the process on behalf of the Department of Education.
The plan is to accommodate three existing schools in new purpose-built facilities on a single campus just outside the town.
The largest will be for 720 pupils of Gaelscoil Charraig Uí Leighin, which first opened in the town in 1985 and has been catering for increased demand.
Cork ETB opened a new second-level all-Irish school last year, Gaelcholáiste Charraig Uí Leighin, which currently has more than 50 students in temporary accommodation in Carrigaline.
But, with new first-year classes being added each year, there will be capacity for 500 in its new two-storey building.
The third facility is for 42 pupils of Sonas Special Junior School, which also has a long existence in Carrigaline, catering for pupils with autism, aged three to six.
The level of traffic and other issues associated with the plans for a greenfield site outside the town, in the direction of Douglas and Cork City, prompted several appeals from residents and others after Cork County Council originally approved the proposal last February.
An Bord Pleanála held an oral hearing on the application in July to consider the issues raised, and its board decided a fortnight ago to grant permission.
Among the conditions attached are the provision of local road upgrades, lighting, and other works.
Cork ETB has also been told that separate planning applications would be required if adult education or other evening activities for the general public are proposed in future.
Ted Owens, Cork ETB chief executive, welcomed the granting of planning permission and said that full alleviation measures would be put in place locally.
“This has been a long campaign which has now proven to be worth the considerable effort.
“We have already established the Gaelcholáiste in a temporary capacity, such is the demand,” he said.
ETB staff have met with their design team and it is expected that the construction of the €15m-plus campus will begin next year, with a view to students and staff being able to move to their new facilities by the school year beginning in autumn 2018.
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