Cllr John Paul Feeley
Responding to recent media coverage suggesting that Cavan/Monaghan ETB are to prepare a feasibility report on the sites of St. Mogue’s College Bawnboy and St. Bricin’s College Belturbet to accommodate required extensions with the aid of external experts, Fianna Fáil West Cavan County Councillor, John Paul Feeley has called on the Department of Education and Skills to intervene and commission a detailed study of both schools independently.
"The Department has to stop the ETB nonsense on this whole sorry saga. The management team, staff, students and school communities need to see independently prepared plans prepared for both schools which will allow both to grow and prosper in the future. The ETB need to take their uncosted, unapproved and siteless proposal for a new school which no community group or individual ever sought, off the table now. I am calling for the Department to conduct an independent review of the whole process to date. Lessons need to be learned and the ETB must not be allowed to continue with their ‘children’s hospital’ style programme," he stated.
"I was amazed to see the spin but on a proposal by the Cavan Monaghan ETB to prepare an internal report being floated as consultants to examine feasibility of school extensions. This proposal floated after the last meeting of the ETB was never mentioned at the ETB Board Meeting. It is an internal report which will dip into favourable expert opinions. It is a smokescreen to provide legitimacy to the unmitigated mess that the ETB has made of the development of these two secondary schools and the kite-flying in proposing a new school in Ballyconnell," he told the Leitrim Observer.
Concluding, Cllr Feeley noted that Cavan/Monaghan ETB is one of three ETBs in the country not to have adopted and published a Strategic Plan. "I understand that each ETB has a statutory obligation to publish a Strategic Plan setting out the goals and targets of the organisation as agreed by the members. I do not see the Cavan/Monaghan Strategic Plan on their website. If they have one, surely it should be freely available? If they have one surely it should set out major plans like their proposal to close two schools, the rational for the proposal and the methodology for the public consultation etc. The reality is that Cavan/Monaghan ETB have been caught trying to fob a ball of smoke as coherent planning and sadly public representatives on the Board and on the Boards of Management of these schools have fallen for it. Many of them are talking out of both sides of their mouths, praising the schools and the achievements of students and staff on one side ad on other working to undermine them by allowing the ETB progress plans for closure. The only answer now if the Department to have all of this independently examined."