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Deputy Pat 'the cope' Gallagher unhappy with Dáil response in relation to island school issue

Michelle NicPhaidin

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Michelle NicPhaidin

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news@donegaldemocrat.com

Deputy Pat 'the cope' Gallagher unhappy with Dáil response in relation to island school issue

A view of Arranmore Island.

Deputy Pat 'the Cope' Gallagher raised the issue of the need for a physical education hall for Gairmscoil Mhic Diarmuida on Arranmore Island in the Dáil recently but feels he got an unsatisfactory response.

He said: "An application was made through Donegal ETB for a new PE Hall in conjunction with the broader community for their use in out of school hours, I recently raised this matter in the Dáil but the reply is very unsatisfactory."

Mr Gallagher said that it was evident from the reply he received that the department have no imminent intention of funding the facility for the island school.

"I am impressing upon the Department of Education to re-look at this application, just last September the Department advocated Physical Education and such facilities within schools but yet when applications are made to the Department they fail to be supported," he said.

The Dungloe-based representative said that there is a need to adopt a partnership approach in relation to the need to provide a PE Hall for Gairmscoil Mhic Diarmuida, that will involve bringing together other funders such as Roinn na Gaeltachta, Leader and other funding bodies in an effort to fund this much-needed facility for this school.

"It is far too simplistic for the Government to reject and long finger this application, a more creative and enthusiastic approach is required from them in an effort to solve the need for a PE Hall on Arranmore," he said.

The Dáil response from the department reads: "The Deputy will be aware that under the Project Ireland 2040 National Development Plan (NDP), increased funding has been provided for the school sector capital investment programme.  

"This funding allows for a continued focus on the provision of a new permanent school places to keep pace with demographic demand and also provides for an additional focus on the refurbishment of existing school buildings to include the building and modernisation of PE facilities in post-primary schools.

"The immediate priority of my Department is providing 20,000 new and replacement school places each year, to ensure that every child has a school place.  The government will focus in the medium term on the provision of PE facilities in schools."