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More consultation expected over proposed new secondary school in West Cavan

Leitrim Observer Reporter

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Leitrim Observer Reporter

Department seeks further info on closure of St Mogue's College

Signs have been erected around Bawnboy about the closure of st Mogue's College

A number of meetings and consultations are taking place between local stakeholders in West Cavan and the Cavan Monaghan ETB. Discussions centre around the possible closure and amalgamation of St Mogue's College, Bawnboy and St Bricin's College Belturbet and plans to build a new 500 pupil school in Ballyconnell.

Bawnboy TD Brendan Smith recently raised the issue in Dáil Eireann and outlined much "local opposition" to the plans. He said the plan came "out of the blue" and there have been "packed public meetings in Bawnboy and Bulturbet opposed to the closures." He noted the geography of a new school in Ballyconnell could see many pupils in West Cavan choose schools in a different county and province. Many pupils in West Cavan would be closer to secondary schools situated in Drumkeerin, Ballinamore and even Carrigallen.

Deputy Smith asked the Minister Joe McHugh pay attention to the large number of submissions sent to his office on this issue.

Deputy Mary Mitchell O'Connor speaking on behalf of Minister joe McHugh last week clarified that an amalgamation only works is "stakeholders buy in" and said consultations with local groups must take place. She explained that students numbers have dropped from 222 enrolled in St Bricin's College in 2014 to 195 last year but  that numbers have actually increased in St Mogue's College from 197 to 227.

She said the Department of education have been informed that a number of local meetings have taken place with more to follow shortly. She said "The Department of Educations has not given any specific funding to Cavan Monaghan ETB to develop a new second level school in Cavan." She said they look forward to hearing about further engagement.

Watch the Dáil exchange below:

Also read: Call for independent review into ETB over plans to close St Mogues