Clonee school scandal - Socialist Voice, July 2003

Clonee school scandal

THE SCANDAL of underfunding education is nowhere more evident that in west Dublin with its young and fast-growing population. In Clonee in particular, hundreds of children are being taught in prefabs and have no guarantee of any school building at all next year.

By Councillor Ruth Coppinger

The national school in Littlepace, Clonee, serving almost 4,000 houses consists of a few prefabs where six classes of 172 pupils are expected to learn. Children are being taught in corridors and in the Principal's office. Next year enrolment will be 259. By 2004, hundreds will be seeking a place.

Before the general election last year, people were promised a permanent school building by 2004. Predictably, that has now been shelved and Littlepace was left off this year's building programme.

Ireland must be the only developed country where prefabs are built to save money in the short term and then left for years.

To add insult to injury, the space left for the school is far too small because the developer, who made millions from the sale of thousands of houses, was only committed to leaving three rather than five acres available.

Clonee is the victim of a political establishment which views developers' profits as more important than facilities and education for ordinary people. The people of Clonee have more than paid for a school through the taxes they have paid and the VAT on the houses they bought.

A campaign group of parents in the area is doing great work and will be supported by the Socialist Party in its efforts. We believe what is needed is a loud and visible campaign, including major protests to mobilise the whole community of Clonee and bring this issue centre stage until the funding for a permanent building is granted.

A junior Minister for Education, Brian Lenihan TD, represents the area and must be held accountable.

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