Political and education leaders in east Cork have urged the Government to follow through on a long-mooted secondary school campus for Carrigtwohill after the state planning board gave it the green light.
A Carrigtwohill Community College campus has been on the agenda in east Cork for more than eight years, but has been the victim of a number of false starts in the intervening period.
It was granted planning permission by Cork County Council in April, but long-time campaigners were bracing themselves for another inevitable setback in the process when it came before An Bord Pleanála.
However, the planning body has given the nod to the project, with no objections made since the local authority granted planning permission.
The completed project, which brings together Scoil Mhuire Naofa, Scoil Chliodhna CNS, and Carrigtwohill Community College on the same campus, will cater for up to 1,000 secondary school students, as well as the two primary schools and special education classes.
The need for the campus has become more noticeable in the eight years since first mooted, when even then it was seen as a pressing need for parents and students in the region.
Carrigtwohill has seen an explosion in growth since the turn of the century, becoming one of the most desirable places to live for young families.
Carrigtwohill Community College currently occupies a former office block and pre-fabricated buildings, having first opened in 2016.
The development when complete will include the construction of two new 24-classroom buildings with two-class special needs units for Scoil Mhuire Naofa and Scoil Chliodhna.
A three-storey building for Carrigtwohill Community College will give the school space to expand to up to 1,000 students, and will include three classrooms for students with special needs.
The plans will also include PE halls, support teaching spaces and secure play areas.
Labour Party TD for Cork East, Sean Sherlock said the green light by An Bord Pleanála is welcome, but cautioned that it would be of little use if not funded.
"I'd like to say well done to all involved in the granting of planning but I will still urge caution and say that this is a milestone, but it's a milestone on a very long road ahead," said Mr Sherlock.
"We have to continue to be vigilant and maintain pressure on the minister and the government in respect of ensuring that the required funding is made available for this. I think we all have a voice now as public representatives in respect of working together to ensure that this is delivered as a project for the people.
"In short, we will keep pressure on the government to make sure that there is a funding line available so as to ensure that this planning application, which has now been granted has the required monies to make this project a reality."
Fianna Fáil TD for the constituency, James O'Connor, said he will be raising the school with Minister for Education, Norma Foley, to ensure that the project gets underway as a matter of urgency.
Ms Foley has already become mired in her first controversy, approving emergency funding on Friday for a school in Listowel, part of her own constituency.