21 Mar 2014

Parents Association Update

Posted by James Mernin.

The following letter was recently distributed to all parents within the school. The letter was written by the Chairperson of the Parents Association.

I am writing to you in reference to the recent article that was published in the Munster Express on Tuesday 11th of March 2014 that you may have seen. While the context of this article reports largely on Minister Ruairi Quinn’s visit to the newly built secondary school in Tramore “Ard Scoil na Mara”, there is a single line paragraph that has raised some concern with Gaelscoil Philib Barún.

It is suggested that an alternative use for the soon to be vacant Stella Maris School is that it could be offered to a Gaelscoil. This statement has shocked Gael Scoil Philib Barun, simply because we are so far along the road to construction of a permanent building. While the offer of the Stella Maris was investigated last year, it was deemed to be completely unsuitable to the needs of Philib Barun for numerous reasons, some of which include:

  • The Stella Maris is an old building that is currently in need of some costly repair to bring back to suitable condition, and being an old building it would constantly need ongoing repair going into the future. The Stella Maris house (originally home to the Gael Scoil) is currently condemned beyond use, yet new occupier would have to assume responsibility for this along with the cost.
  • It was built for the purpose of teaching secondary school students. It would therefore require serious modifications to be appropriately used as a primary school and comply with the Department of Education own guidelines on primary schools. It is estimated that the cost of these two issues alone would be of the same region as to build a new school.
  • The Stella Maris is not owned by the Department of Education. The building would have to be bought or more likely rented from its owner. This flies in the face of the fact that the land on which the Gael Scoil currently occupies is owned by the Department of Education, and was purchased at the time with the focus to build a permanent building on it. This 30 year journey is now at the tender stage, having spent hundreds of thousands Euros already to get to the tender stage with planning permission approval.

These reasons and more were reported back to the Department of Education last year and we were convinced at the time that the Stella Maris option was a non-runner for the Gaelscoil. However current media reports suggest that this is not the case and that there is an alternative agenda within the Department of Education regarding Gaelscoil Philib Barún quest for a permanent building. We would like parents to be aware of this, particularly when in conversation regarding the Gaelscoil and Stella Maris in the local community.

Yours sincerely,

Marc Blackett