Local TD Denis Naughten has received confirmation from the Minister for Education that negotiations on the purchase of a site for St. Teresa’s Special School, Ballinasloe, are now at a “very advanced stage”.
“This news will be apprehensively received by the pupils, parents and staff of St. Teresa’s, as previous discussions with a landowner on the purchase of a site by the Department of Education had fallen through,” explained Denis Naughten.
“These negotiations have been ongoing for nearly 18 months but responding to me in the Dáil last week Minister Norma Foley TD said that the acquisition of a site to accommodate a permanent school building for the school is at a very advanced stage.”
The Minister told Denis Naughten: “Due to the commercially sensitive nature of site acquisitions generally, it is not possible to comment further at this time. I can, however, assure you that the acquisition of a new site for the school is a priority for the Department.”
Denis Naughten added: “The school is currently accommodated in the Ballinasloe Enterprise Centre in Creagh and it is now hoped that these negotiations can be brought to a positive conclusion soon with the purchase of a site for the construction of a new purpose-built building.”
Deputy Naughten has been consistently pressing the current Minister and her two predecessors to secure a site for the new special school in Ballinasloe for the more than 20 students and 15 staff of St. Teresa’s Special School.
“The new school project for St. Teresa’s Special School was included in the Department’s six year capital programme announced in November 2015 to proceed to the tender and construction stages in the period 2019-2021, but because previous negotiations on a site fell through, we are still waiting to progress this project through the school building programme,” said Denis Naughten.
“We need to urgently secure a site and obtain a clear commitment of funding for this project. For far too long children with special needs have had to travel great distances to access education. We now have a facility on our doorstep, and we need a commitment that the money will be put in place to allow for the construction of a purpose-built school for the children of Ballinasloe, East Galway and South Roscommon.”
Editor’s Note: Minister’s reply
For Written Answer on : 25/03/2021
Question Number(s): 111 Question Reference(s): 16235/21
Asked by: Denis Naughten T.D.
To ask the Minister for Education further to Parliamentary Question No. 245 of 5 March 2020, the progress made to date in developing a purpose-built school for the pupils of the school; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
The acquisition of a site to accommodate a permanent school building for the school to which the Deputy refers is at a very advanced stage.
Due to the commercially sensitive nature of site acquisitions generally, it is not possible to comment further at this time. I can, however, assure you that the acquisition of a new site for the school is a priority for the Department.
Previous reply from Department of Education