Public representatives, including a former principal and former pupil at Scoil Chonaill Naofa in Bunbeg, have welcomed the news that the Bunbeg national school has received government approval to proceed to tender and construction for a new building.
Sinn Fin Sen. Pearse Doherty, who attended the school, and Fine Gael TD, Dinny McGinley, a former principal there, both welcomed the announcement and congratulated the school's board of management, staff, parents and students who campaigned for the new building.
Mary Coughlan, TD, tnaiste and minister for enterprise, trade and employment, said the extension and refurbishment “will be an invaluable addition to the local infrastructure.”
The tnaiste said work is expected to begin in early summer. The extension and refurbishment will include five new classrooms, a special classroom, a general purpose room and other facilities, including an office. The school enrols about 100 pupils and employs six full-time teachers.
"I am fully aware that a number of other schools in Donegal South-West are awaiting building approval,” the tnaiste said. She said that in coming weeks there will be news on the summer works scheme, which will include information on water conservation measures, while emergency work grants are made available to local schools.
Sen. Doherty said that as a former pupil of Scoil Chonaill Naofa he knew "all too well" the difficulties pupils and teachers faced on a daily basis. He said he presented an engineering report to the minister for education and science that showed the school had unsafe electrics.
"This school has been waiting 10 years for action from the department," Sen. Doherty said. "This is scandalous and something that no school should have to go through." He said his focus now will be on the 60 other schools in the county in similar situations that have yet to receive the go-ahead for new school buildings.
Deputy McGinley said that the department has indicated that tenders will be invited for the project "without further delay," and it is hoped that construction will begin within months.
The deputy said he would offer particular thanks to Father Brian Fearraigh, board chairperson, "who pursued this campaign with consistency and vigour.
"I do hope there will be no undue delay in providing these well-deserved facilities for the pupils and staff of Scoil Chonaill Naomh," Deputy McGinley said.