Clon’s growth will challenge local schools

March 2nd, 2023 11:55 AM

By Kieran O'Mahony

Clonakilty Community College is a ‘school of the future’ after the investment by Cork ETB. Below: one of the ultra modern classrooms.

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WHILE 14 more boys will now be accommodated at Clonakilty Community College this coming September, calls have been made to ensure additional school spaces are made available as the town’s population is set to significantly increase.

It was confirmed recently that the boys, who could not get a  school place until now, have been offered spaces, following a meeting of the school’s board of management. The affected students feared they would be forced to travel to Dunmanway or Bandon for secondary school, due to a lack of places for boys in Clonakilty.

Cork South West Fianna Fáil TD Christopher O’Sullivan welcomed the latest development.

‘I’m thrilled for the students and families involved. It was certainly a stressful time for them wondering would they get a place – it’s a huge relief for them,’ he told The Southern Star.

‘I also want to commend the principal Tommy Browne, the staff and the board of management, in finding a solution here. However, it still poses big questions about the future  capacity for Clonakilty.’ Deputy O’Sullivan said the population of Clonakilty is forecast to grow from 4,500 to 6,200 by 2028 which, he said, would put significant pressure on school spaces for boys, in particular.

‘The Sacred Heart Secondary school has been allocated approval for a multi-million euro project to renovate the old convent, but there will be pressure on allocating places for boys as Clonakilty Community College is the only school in the town that can take them.’

Despite the fact that there was a €12m project to increase capacity by 50, Deputy O’Sullivan said there will have to be plans to extend the college even further.

‘There is land zoned at the back for education purposes and that needs to be looked at by the Department and the Education and Training Board (ETB),’ he suggested. Meanwhile, Fine Gael Senator Tim Lombard, who was contacted by several parents on the issue, said they now need the Department to liaise with the local authority to review the development plans to identify long-term school accommodation requirements for the Clonakilty community.

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