General Election 2011

This page was formally archived on Friday, 9 June 2017 to commemorate the official opening of the new school building at Gaelscoil Philib Barún. The content herein is reflective of the journey that lead to that day and is being retained here for historical purposes.

General Election 2011

On Friday, 25 February 2011, the people of Ireland will vote in a General Election to decide who will govern the country through one of the toughest economic periods the country has ever known. At the same time, Gaelscoil Philib Barún continues in its campaign for the a Permanent School Building, which it has now been waiting over 25 years for.

In a welcome (and long overdue) move, our school project was moved to the Architectural Planning stage in January 2011, and we are now awaiting the appointment of a Design Team to see the project through to the construction phase. However, we still need the support of our local politicians in this regard and are therefore seeking the support of the wider Tramore community in canvassing them accordingly during the upcoming General Election.

Campaign Objectives

The objective of our election campaign is simply to raise awareness of the school building campaign. We are not looking for any pre-election promises but most certainly do want to do everything that we can to ensure that those candidates elected will remember the volume of people that spoke about our school, and will in turn help in the delivery of permanent school building for all our children’s future.

Waterford Candidates

The following candidates are running for election in the Waterford constituency (in alphabetical order):

Source: Irish Times

Doorstep Questions

Here are some simple but effective questions and points you could raise with canvassing politicians when they call to your door.

  1. Have you heard of Gaelscoil Philib Barún?
  2. Did you know it’s the only Irish-language school in Tramore?
  3. Did you know it was founded in 1985 and has been waiting for a permanent school building ever since (that’s over 25 years now).
  4. Did you know they already have an empty field on the school grounds where a school could easily be built?
  5. Did you know the land is already owned by the Department of Education?
  6. Did you know that the school was named after a Waterford man, Philip Barron, who founded Ireland’s first ever Gaelscoil back in the early 1800’s?

Remember that our objective is to tell them something interesting they may not know about our school and our campaign so that they will remember us after the election. So don’t be afraid to seize that doorstep opportunity and tell them something they didn’t know!

Have Your Say

Please feel free to leave a comment about your doorstep canvassing experiences here. Who called, what did they say, how did they react to your questions, what did you think of their attitude and response?

Calling all Election Candidates

The following letter was sent to all of the above candidates (except Gerard Kiersey who we could not find an email address for) on Friday, 4 February 2011:

Dear Candidate,

I am writing to you in my capacity as chairman of the Parents Association of An Gaelscoil Philib Barun. Our commitee has decided to take this opportunity, at election time, to inform the parents about the policies of election candidates which have a direct impact on the future development of our school. While I understand that you will be very busy in the run up to the election, I would be grateful if you could take the time to answer some of our questions.

In order to communicate your policies we have dedicated a page on our website to the Election 2011 on which we will post your reply: http://www.pilibbarun.com/campaign/election2011.

Our questions are as follows:

  1. Education has been highlighted as the ultimate means to addressing the current recession. What are your views on this?
  2. Over the last number of years it has become quite evident that there are systematic failures in the state’s school building programme. How do you and/ or your party intend to address this?
  3. Tramore’s educational infrastructure has been struggling to cope with the growth in the town’s population. There are 4 schools in our area in the process of seeking new and improved permanent facilities. How do you propose to address this?
  4. An Gaelscoil Philib Barun was founded in 1985 and has been housed in temporary accomodation ever since. We are currently in temporary accomodation on land which is owned by the Department of Education. Whether or not you are successful in winning a seat in this election, how can you help in our campaign you give our children the educational facility that they deserve?

I would like to thank you in advance for taking the time to answer our questions and wish you all the best in your election campaign.

Regards,
John Breen
Parents Association

Candidate Replies

Here is the response from the candidates who replied to the letter from the Parents Association:

Brendan Kenneally (Fianna Fáil) – 11 February 2011

Dear John,

I acknowledge receipt of your email letter concerning Gaelscoil Philib Barun.

You refer to the part that education can play in addressing the current recession and there is not doubt it has huge part to play and this sector needs to continue to be supported in the coming years. Of more immediate concern is getting people back to work now and the only way that can be achieved in the sort-term is by getting the economy right and that is what we are striving to do in Fianna Fáil even though we are suffering politically for it as we are making the necessary decisions to aid recovery.

I do not accept the point in relation to the State school building programme as more than €108m has been provided in capital funding for school building and modernisation projects in Waterford between 2002 and 2009. Approval has just been given for another school in the constituency, Presentation Secondary School in Waterford City, to accept the preferred tenderer and that will now progress to construction as well.

I realise there have been particular difficulties in Tramore with the growth in population but as you know a new school is to be constructed under a public private partnership agreement to cater for 1,000 students which will see the amalgamation of Tramore CBS and Stella Maris. This project is progressing well and no delays are anticipated and in speaking to the principals of both schools they are happy with progress. I realise this is important for Gaelscoil Philib Barun as I am sure many of your pupils will move on there in due course.

Building work at Holy Cross School is very far advanced and there are plans to develop Glor na Mara National School as well.

As regards your own school I am glad that finally approval was given to appoint a design team and hopefully as soon as that work is completed approval can be given to proceed to tender and then construction.

Yours sincerely,
Brendan Kenneally T.D.

Declan Waters (Independent) – 16 February 2011

Sean, a cara,

Ta me ar an sli cruaidh anois agus is feidir liom caint leat tareis 26/02/2011 buiocas le Dia.Le gach dea-ghuí,

Deaglan Mac Con Uisge

Joe Tobin (Independent) – 19 February 2011

Dear John,

The Workers Party fully support An Gaelscoil Philib Barun and their campaign for a permanent school building. It is unacceptable that your students have been subjected to a temporary school for the last 25 years.

The current procedures for school building work is completely flawed and is doing a great injustice to the young people of Ireland and their education. Therefore if I am elected it will be high on my agenda that this current system is amended, too many schools in too many rural areas are being forgotten and this has to be changed.

Yours Sincerely,
Joe Tobin

Ben Nutty (Independent) – 21 February 2011

John, a chara,

Go raibh maith agat don ríomhpost agus tabharfaidh mé mo fhreagair as Béarla chun bheith cinnte cumarsáide cruinn a dhéanamh mar seo a leanas:

Education certainly is the ultimate means to addressing the current recession. Indeed, it’s primarily for this very reason that I decided to join the new party, Fís Nua, and to contest this election. Because I’ve studied both conventional and sustainable economics, like many people I know that it’s the latter variety that’s necessary in order to achieve a real, lasting and fair prosperity. We’ve had the irresponsible boom followed by the dreadful bust. Now it’s time to steady things but in a new way. Most politicians will tell you that economic growth is the answer but they’re not giving you the full story. The truth is that an economy that forever chases more will fail again because we have limited resources, including fossil-fuel energy on which it depends. Science tells us that in the next few years such energy won’t be available like it is now. Even if this wasn’t an overwhelming problem, research shows that once people’s basic needs are met and they have enough goods and services, economic growth fails to improve people’s happiness and life satisfaction. Similarly, growth fails to deliver lasting solutions to unemployment and poverty, and despite global growth, 2.7 billion people live on less than $2 a day. The challenge then is to sustain our economy which already has enough goods and services, without relying on consumption growth. A steady state economy represents a positive alternative because energy and resource use are reduced to levels that are within ecological limits and the goal of maximising economic growth is replaced by the goal of maximising quality of life. A high quality of life means that things that really matter to people are given priority like health, well-being, secure employment, leisure time, education, fairness, strong communities and economic stability. For more on the steady state economy or for more on our other new plans to achieve a real, lasting and fair prosperity, please see www.steadystate.org or www.fisnua.com / Candidates / Dr Ben Nutty.

We can see from this that a general education is necessary in order to address economic and social problems in the most profound ways. We also need to see this reflected in the content of economics degree courses and in media coverage among many things. We also support international education efforts in this area by the International Society of Ecological Economics, The New Economics Foundation, The UK Sustainable Development Commission, CASSE and Feasta among many others. The role of primary education is crucial to prepare children for a fairer and more sustainable society made possible by the transition to the new steady state economy. Sustainability education, in all its forms, is particulaly important in this regard as is the teaching of the values that should be the basis of the new society – i.e. love, connectedness, friendship, creativity and spirituality rather than unfulfilling consumerism. Promoting a culture of “enough” rather than “more” is important to achieve a higher quality of life for everyone.

Regarding the systemic failures in the state’s school building programme, we would fast-track school building as a matter of national priority and take advantage of the fact that due to the current conventional “recession”, building costs should be lower at the moment. Any “red tape” delaying progress would be removed as far as possible.

To address Tramore’s educational infrastructure needs, I’m committed to raising the educational budget on a phased basis to 7% of GDP over the next five years regardless of the present financial circumstances because of the overall benefits of education to society. In the long run it’ll pay for itself many times over in many ways if properly implemented.

I’m committed to helping your Gaeilscoil to obtain permanent accomodation and will assist you in whatever way that I can, both before and after the election perhaps by public appearances, giving my support to press releases and assisting with fundraising among other ways.

Le meas mór agus le gach dea-ghuí,
Dr Ben Nutty – Iarrthóir don Olltoghchán

Ciara Conway (Labour) – 24 February 2011

Dear Daithi,

I was delighted to meet so many of your pupils over the last few week who are so engaged in the political process in the run up to the general election. I pledge my full support to your campaign if and when elected to the 31st Dáil.

I would like to congratulate you, your staff team and pupils and parents for organising such a great campaign for a permanent school building for Gael Scoil Philib Barún.

I am a firm believer in the personal is political and it doesn’t get more personal than this, children deserve to be taught in the best possible phyiscal environments and staff deserve the best possible working environment. As I have previously stated I am committed to your campaign and I do hope that you and your staff and parents will support me in my bid to be elected to the Dáil.

Kindest regards,
Is mise le meas,
Ciara Conway

Election Results

Many congratulations to each of the successful election candidates elected from the Waterford constituency:

  • John Deasy (Fine Gael)
  • Paudie Coffey (Fine Gael)
  • Ciara Conway (Labour)
  • John Halligan (Independent)

We look forward to their continued support in our campaign for a permanent school building.