Bawnboy and Belturbet committtees seek engagement over school closures

St Mogues and St Bricin Colleges set to close to make way for new €15m second level school in Ballyconnell

Leitrim Observer Reporter

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Leitrim Observer Reporter

Bawnboy and Belturbet committtees seek engagement over school closures

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

The Save Our School Committees in Bawnboy and Belturbet have hit back at the news that the Department of Education has approved a new secondary school in Ballyconnell which will result in the closure of St Mogue's  and St Bricin's colleges.

They say the €15million proposal was presented to the CMETB in November 2018 with "just a PowerPoint presentation and a well-produced video. No documents, reports, studies or facts provided, no time provided for board members to consult or consider, just lots of pressure to get immediate decision. No provision for engagement with communities or impact produced. To date no impact study / report, costings or feasibility has been carried out on either of the existing schools or indeed the new proposal. No consultation or engagement with the communities involved, stakeholders or committee’s setup to represent."

The groups say they are "perplexed at this announcement and turn of events."

Also read: Shock and delight over approval for new secondary school in Ballyconnell

The committess say that at a boardmeeting in Breifne College on 19 Dec 2018 John Kearny personally gave an undertaking to carry out this engagement and consultation. Mr Kearny and the CMETB board declined invitations to all public meetings.

"Since inception, both committees have tirelessly attempted to engage with the CEMTB and provided open invitations to John Kearny and the board to address and engage with our communities. These communications have been extremely difficult and frustrating with erroneous claims being made frequently. To date no engagement or consultation has taken place."

The committees day that there has been no engagement with any local groups such as GAA, Comhaltas, Tidy Towns, Scouts, Community Development, Parents Association etc.

"We accept that school management meetings take place in each of the schools. These are briefed by John Kearny. We are unaware of consultation or open engagement given the nature of these board makeups. Advising this group what is happening in that context and providing open dialogue and listening to concerns from that quorum are of course different."

The committees claim that the report for the CMETB by Niall Smith Architects is "a collage of old reports cobbled together is wholly inaccurate, incomplete, not fit for purpose and without merit. There is no cost analysis provided.

The committee do conceed that one meeting set by John Kearney had to be postponed as committee members were on holidays. 

They are calling for engagement and consultation with the local communities.

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