Lucan families forced to move home due to lack of primary school places
Parents in Lucan are feeling extremely anxious due to the huge lack of schooling facilities in the area. In September 2002, a voluntary group of parents opened an Educate Together school in Lucan in response to the lack of multi-denominational education and huge increase in population in the area. This group received over 700 children’s names to put on a first-come-first served pre-enrolment list. Today only 24 students can be facilitated, with 2 teachers working from a cramped Scout Hall in Lucan Village.
Families are now being faced with the decision to leave Lucan in order to get their children into primary schools; Karen Lynott originally from Lucan said;
In June 2002, my family moved out of Lucan because I could not get my daughter a place in any local school in Lucan. Her name had been down in all of the local schools in my locality since she was 6 months old and this did not secure a place for her. I was aware of a schools crisis in Lucan from about 2000 as I saw so many houses being built but did think that schools would soon follow as all children have this basic right to a primary education. I joined other parents campaigning for the Griffeen site school. We had been on to Mary Harney on numerous occasions and she was giving us as much information as she could about whether this school was going to happen for September 2002. Up until June 2002, we had no guarantees that the school was going to be there and my daughter still did not secure a place in any school in Lucan. Finally, I gave up trying, and decided to move out of Lucan in order to secure a place for my child in school. I moved to Leixlip and had no problems getting a place for my daughter in the local school.
According to councilor Derek Keating
The Crisis in the deficiency in school accommodation in the Lucan area in Dublin has reached alarming heights as time is now running out for Griffeen Valley Educate Together. It is clear that they will be without premises from June 2003 and therefore must be on the site from June 2003 if classroom accommodation is to be available for this school by Monday 1st September 2003.
To date a three-acre site owned by a prominent building developer has been designated for a primary school in Griffeen Valley and Planning permission for Griffeen Valley Educate Together was achieved in 2002 for a 16 classroom temporary school development. Negotiations for the purchase or lease of the site between Department and the land developer is on going yet there is no guarantee for the parents that the Department will provide the funds for either leasing or buying the site this year.
To accentuate parents problems Griffeen Valley Educate Together National School has only been given temporary recognition by the Department. This means that the Department will provide 75% of the funding for the school instead of 95% for permanent schools. Voluntary groups of parents have been told that they will have to source temporary accommodation for up to 10 years before the state will be in a position to supply a permanent school building yet no landlord will provide a lease for more than 4 years 9 months, as tenants then gain rights. In order to keep their school open the parents must engage in ongoing fund raising for the day-to-day running costs. This also means that once the Department has acquired or leased the site, the cost of carrying out site development works and providing the temporary buildings on site could be in the order of €700,000.00. The Department bizarrely considers that the parents should contribute a significant element of this amount.
According to a pre-statement by the central statistics office, Lucan is the fastest growing small area at electoral division level. Lucan-Esker recorded the highest increase in intercensal population – its population almost trebled since1996 to reach 21,785 in 2002.
Elaine Harris, one of the parents involved stated;
“I grew up on the Main Street, in the same house that my father was born in, the same house that my Grandfather and Grandmother lived in. I knew everyone in the village and was related to half of them! So when I got married and planned a family I decided to move back to Lucan and raise my children the way I was raised, near relations and friends and in a school that focuses on families from all denominations. This this no longer seems to be possible, the lack of school places in the area means that the only confirmed place I have for my son is in a school that is based in the Scout Den (Griffeen Valley ETNS) and they do not have room to take on any children in September if they cannot move to a larger premises. We can’t provide an education for children already living in the area and now planners and developers want to bring how many more people here?” “How much of the necessary infrastructure will be in place for these people? We deserve better, our children deserve better and Lucan deserves better!”
A protest meeting has been organised by parents in Lucan on Saturday 26th April 2003 at 3:00pm at the Proposed school site at the junction of Griffeen road and Griffeen Avenue.