Wednesday, February 27, 2008

2nd email to Terence Flangan


Thank you for your submission to the minister and providing such timely feedback, its really appreciated and I note your proposed question on the provision of a guarantee. If, however the minister cannot provide any guarantee that the school will be built this year, is it possible to find out what is being delivered by a ‘school building programme’? I’m intrigued by the ministers response referring to an ‘appropriate preparation schedule applicable’ … this project was ready for tender, no further preparation is required, there is nothing further for the minister to do accept provide approval ‘again’, this reply is without merit and lacks sufficient clarity.

My wife and I, the children and other parents and the teachers of the school need to understand what, if any, road map exists for projects proceeding to construction on this ‘school building programme’ . It would be helpful to understand what decision making & prioritisation is being applied by the minister and the department of education on this matter.

I believe that this project is worthy of the minister’s consideration considering all the delays and disappointment to date.

Response to my email

Hi Graham

Thank you for your email. I submitted a parliamentary question to the Minister for Education asking her to state when the new School was going to be built. I enclose the response. I am not happy with the response and have submitted a new question and have also written to the Minister.

Please be assured that I will continue to demand that Springdale gets the new School it was promised.

Thanks and Regards

Terence Flanagan T.D.

New Question: To ask the Minister for Education & Science to provide a guarantee that a School will be built in an area (details supplied) this year and if she will make a statement on the matter.

Chun an Aire Oideachais agus Eolaíoctha
To the Minister for Education and Science

To ask the Minister for Education and Science when a new school will be built
in an area (details supplied) in Dublin 5; and if she will make a statement on
the matter.
- Terence Flanagan.

Springdale National School, Raheny, Dublin 5

* For WRITTEN answer on Wednesday, 20th February, 2008.
Reference Number: 6889/08


Minister for Education and Science (Mary Hanafin, T.D.)

I announced recently a list of schools which are due to go to construction in
2008. My Department will be in contact with the school authorities over the
next number of days to advise on the most appropriate preparation schedule
applicable on each project.

The school to which the Deputy refers is not included in that announcement.
However, I intend to make further announcements regarding projects that will be
proceeding to construction during the course of the year as the school building
programme is rolled out.

1st email to Terence Flangan


Last Sunday there was an article addressing the lack of funding for primary schools, prominently featured was Springdale national school which two of my children currently attend. It is very sad that a principal & parents of a school need to publically be humiliated to highlight the lack of any appropriate response to basic requirements being provided by this state.

The potted history is that the school, trust and parents have being trying to have an extension and refurbishment to this historic school since 1997, in July ’99 a formal application was made and in March ’01 the Dept of Education confirmed the project would be sanctioned. After this the project slowly moved along and in feb ’03 the school under a ‘school general inspection’ was described as “sub standard”. Then in May ’05, the school was advised the building project was now assessed as a “priority project”, however after 3 years of delays the specs and the building submission was now out of date and needed to be re-submitted. In March 2006 the school board met with the building unit at stage 3 of the building process & the school was advised the money was still available. In June 07, the school board was advised that project must be started no later than Feb ’08, however this month (June 07) the planning permission was granted. In Nov ‘07 the tender docs were ready and in the process of getting pricing for the contract when they contacted by the Dept of education to hold off and await further written approval before proceeding. In December ’07 after numerous calls again the principle was told to wait until after the budget, when the minister would “make an announcement in her own good time”. Unbelievably, then in February a list of project were announced and Springdale school was not included.

Does anyone in Government either civil or political know how to accrue funds? The lack of accountability for standing over this project is shocking, especially when it has been described as a sub standard facility & has been designated as a priority and funding set aside address the issues.

I had a friend over last year from Switzerland and her two childen spent part of the day in school with my two children as a cultural exchange, all the children enjoyed the experience. My friend could not believe the facilities that the teachers and children were being educated in. She praised the creativity and ingenuity of the teachers in making the most of a poor situation, saying no school in Switzerland would be allowed stay open with such poor facilities.

If we send troops into service overseas we ensure they are well equipped and safe, we ensure the best environment is provided for the ones we care for whether they are ill or infirmed, or in need of respite. I do not believe we should treat our children any differently. Our country was once regarded as ‘the young Europeans’ and we traded on this for much inward investment, its like an old record now, a hazy dream fading into the ether.

I don’t know what if anything you can do, but I am hoping that you have integrity and ideals to become personally involved on behalf of the school in bringing a satisfactory closure to a school and group of professionals that deserve to be treated much better then they have experienced sine 1997. This mess and ridiculous bureaucracy has gone on far too long and as a parent and citizen I’m angry now and feel it’s just not good enough.

I have never written to a politician before and you got our vote at the last election because we felt you were an agent of change, so heres hoping…