*Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at Scoil Chriost Ri, Cloughleigh. Photograph: Martin Connolly
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has been reminded that 40 children in Ennis are without a secondary school for September.
Over the next fortnight, secondary school students who are not completing their State Examinations will conclude their school year. However more than three dozen sixth class pupils in Co Clare are still without a second level place for the coming school year.
Jim Cooney, Chairperson of the Scoil Chriost Rí Board of Management in Cloughleigh was first highlighted the issue with the Taoiseach in April. On Tuesday, Independent TD, Dr. Michael Harty raised the matter with Varadkar.
“Education is the key to giving every child an equal chance in life”. Unfortunately that is not being acted upon in Ennis, where next September there will be insufficient places in secondary schools to accommodate those leaving primary schools. It is anticipated that this will be the case for years to come. Twelve primary school principals have written to the Minister outlining their concerns in this regard. It particularly affects those from the Traveller community, those from disadvantaged areas and those with special educational needs. The issue is compounded by the fact that there is no centralised application system. Some pupils are allocated several places in schools and others are left without a place until the school year starts,” Harty said in Dáil Éireann.
In response, Varadkar stated, “I had the privilege of opening the refurbished Scoil Chríost Rí in Ennis and I am aware that there is a shortage of school places in the Ennis area. I will ask the Minister for Education and Skills to provide the Deputy with an update on the actions being taken to resolve that”.