Senator Fiona O’Loughlin hosts private crisis meeting with Minister for Education Norma Foley on school place shortages

Fianna Fail education spokesperson, and Kildare based Senator Fiona O’Loughlin has met this morning with Minister Norma Foley to discuss the critical level of school places in South Kildare

Senator O’Loughlin said “I have been inundated with calls and emails from distraught parents who are facing such uncertainty as a result of their child not receiving a secondary school place this week”

“I have been raising the red flag on this for some time and am disappointed that so many families are still in this situation.”

“I have reached out to both primary and secondary schools to get their views, inputs, and experiences. And the stories of anxiety and stress on the ground from both parents and students are just unacceptable.”

“One local principal told me of a child who has no place. She is 44th on the waiting list in one school, 67th in another and 88th in a third school. ‘This is causing her and her family huge anxiety at the moment.’ She said, ‘I really am worried for this 11-year-old girl’s mental health.’ We have to get clarity now as to how their children will be accommodated”

“I also raised the issue in the Seanad this morning as a formal commencement to the Department. The situation is critical for many students, and the Department must respond appropriately. I will continue to advocate on behalf of students and families at the highest levels within the Department”

Fiona concluded “The Minister has heard the cries from parents in South Kildare loud and clear. She has confirmed that she and her officials are in active negotiation to secure an agreed site to provide a second level school to serve the needs for students from the Newbridge/Kildare catchment areas which includes area such as Milltown, Athgarvan, Suncroft, Ballysax and Nurney as well as the Curragh. However, this will not solve the immediate crisis facing parents and families. She has agreed to intervene”