Press release, November 21, 2018

Donabate Portrane Community Council has expressed disappointment at a reply it received from the Education Minister about the provision of schools for the area.
The community council had a Dáil question answered by Minister Joe McHugh.

The question inquired about the rationale behind the decision to provide the first of three new primary schools in Donabate on a site which is in contravention of the Donabate Local Area Plan (LAP).
The LAP states that the first of four schools to be built is on the Spires East land near Ballymastone in the village. The land is owned by the council.

But the community has been told that it has been decided that the first of four new schools in the area is to be built on the Corballis lands on the peninsula.

Minister McHugh was told the Corballis site is privately-owned and the taxpayer has to pay for the purchase of the site.
He was also told the Fingal Schools Model was always best practice, with Fingal providing publicly owned sites for 50pc less of the market value with the monies raised then invested in the local community.

Donabate Portrane Community Council pointed out that it is Government policy is to build schools on publicly-owned lands.

The Minister responded in his Dáil reply that a site identification and acquisition process is currently underway for a new school, with the assistance of Fingal County Council under the Memorandum of Understanding for the acquisition of school sites.

No decision has yet been made regarding its location, the Minister said.
But Mr McHugh went on to say that through engagement with Fingal County Council it has been indicated that the Corballis lands are likely to be developed ahead of those at Ballymastone, within which the Spires East site is located.

“As you may be aware, significant infrastructural works at Corballis are being funded under the Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund which are intended to facilitate the development of approximately 1,200 residential units by 2021.
“The requirement for school places that is anticipated to emerge from this development at Corballis contributed significantly to the decision to open the new school in Donabate.”

There was no reply to the aspect of the Dáil question that sough a cost-benefit analysis of using the privately-owned land compared with the council land for a school.

A spokesperson for Donabate Portrane Community Council said it welcomed the announcement of a much-needed school.
“However, local democracy is being undermined and this is a cause of serious concern to Donabate Portrane Community Council,” the spokesperson added.

A business plan on the need for a school at the Spires East site has been submitted by Donabate Portrane Community Council to the Department of Education. This outlines the phasing of the local area plan and rationale for putting the next school on the Spires East site.

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