The government’s failure so far to deliver on commitments to a new amalgamated secondary school in Tramore, which has left the local CBS and Stella Maris dependent on yet more pre-fab accommodation, has been condemned as a disgraceful betrayal of the town’s young students.
The castigation came from Town and County Councillor Ann Marie Power, who is also a teacher at the CBS. “All of four years ago, prior to the last local elections, we were promised the school as a solution to grossly overcrowded conditions which are now far worse”, she complained angrily at last week’s Town Council July meeting.
“Now no doubt the so-called recession is going to be used in an attempt to further postpone the project while some of the kids have to sit four to desks made for two”, she commented indignantly. “It’s no wonder young people are sceptical about politics and politicians when they see that their word is meaningless and false promises are made left, right and centre for the purpose of getting elected and acquiring power”.
Prompting her attack was confirmation that the CBS, already 80 p.c. prefab, had acquired planning permission for four more such units. And her information was that the Stella Maris was heading down a similar road.
Bar Department funding, everything else is in place for the new school, on a 14 acre Ballycarnane site purchased by the OPW for €4.3m. But in the current financial climate there are fears that the project will not proceed any time soon.
“It is simply not good enough”, Cllr. Power raged. “A school has been built recently in Cork which has state of the art facilities including a gym, canteen, library and multi-sports playing complex. Good luck to them but the contrast with Tramore provides a clear example of an inequitable spread of resources in our education system”.
“We have totally dedicated staff and great children but our working conditions fall far short of providing a proper learning environment”, she said of her experience at the CBS.
“Conditions can be cramped and very hot in warm weather. Overcrowding makes classroom management extremely difficult at times. In my own 5th year French class, for example, I have 30 students but because the prefab in which we are located is too small some of them must sit three and four to a desk”.
She said she was very angry over the government’s failure to deliver on its pre-election promises. “It is disgraceful that our education system is not receiving funding which is essential to its success and I’m particularly appalled that students are being used as political pawns by a government which has mismanaged the country’s riches in time of plenty”.
The Council supported her request for a meeting with the Minister as quickly as possible. And she also wants the constituency’s TDs to demand prompt action.