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Gaescoil gets go-ahead

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Gaelscoil Site
NEW HOME The proposed site for Gaelscoil na Cruaiche.

Gaescoil gets go-ahead

PADRAIG BURNS

A Gaelscoil in Westport is the only school in Mayo to get money for a new school building in the latest funding round from the Department of Education.
The Minister for Education, Mary Hanafin, has approved Gaelscoil na Cruaiche for funding to build a new school on the Golf Course Road which should be ready to open its doors within two years. The announcement was part of an overall scheme for 54 primary schools throughout the country.
Westport was however the only one of just seven schools in the west on the list. County Galway receive funding for four schools and Sligo had two schools approved. 
Nevertheless the news is welcome news for the Gaelscoil. When completed, the new building will be able to accommodate around 250 pupils. Pat Dunne, has campaigned for the new school along with other parents for the past two years.
“It won’t be just a school building. There will be superb sporting facilities on the site and the entire community will benefit from such fantastic facilities. The plan for the school and what the Council have in mind for the area will make it one of the best developments in the country,” he said.
Mr Dunne said the announcement last week was recognition by the Department of Education.
“It’s great that it was brought to fruition as quickly as it was and there are a lot of very happy people. The last few years were hard and we had to campaign very actively, but it’s been worth it,’’ he said.
At one stage last year pupils deserted their classrooms and studied for a time in the open air at the Octagon, as parents turned up the pressure in the fight for a permanent building.
The protest was described by frustrated parents as ‘a last-ditch attempt’ to secure agreement for a new permanent Gaelscoil in the town.
Since its establishment 10 years ago, the school has had no permanent home. It is currently based in second-hand prefabs near an industrial estate.
The sub-standard conditions of the Gaelscoil were condemned by a Health and Safety Authority report in 2004.