Meeting held over closure concerns

Parents from small rural schools in the county have met to discuss concerns over the future of the schools.

Parents from small rural schools in the county have met to discuss concerns over the future of the schools.

Staff and parents held a meeting with politicians in Rathmullan on Monday night to discuss fears that shcools like St. Garvan’s National School in Drumhalla, Glenswilly National School and Cranford National Schools attended the meeting in Rathmullan.

The concerns have surfaced as a result of the Department of Education’s’ review of primary schools in the country that have less than 50 pupils. Donegal has 60 schools that have just one or two teachers, most of them in rural areas. The review is due to be completed at the end of the year. The Report of the Special Group on Public Service Numbers and Expenditure Programmes by economist Colm McCarthy identified savings of €18 million by merging some of these schools.

Donegal North East TD Joe McHugh, who attended the meeting, said parents and teachers are stressing the contribution that such schools make to the local community and the economic impact of closing them.

“There is genuine concern that the schools, could close,” he said.

“Parents bring their children to St. Garvan’s National School themselves and moving the children to schools in Kerrykeel or Rathmullan would mean the children would be entitled to school transport and the costs associated with that.”

“The point they are making is that there is no school transport going to the school and if the school is closed there will be. The schools are doing their utmost to make sure they remain open and that has to be commended.”

The schools are now to hold a meeting with Donegal North East’s three TDs about the issues, he said.