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Fermoy welcomes its new Gaelscoil

Thursday, 16th February, 2017 1:00am

“We will finally close the doors of our old school building on McCurtain Street in Fermoy and walk joyously to our new home.”

These are the cheerful words of the Gaelscoil de hÍde New School Action Group as tomorrow sees the opening of the new school, nearly six years after it was first sanctioned.

The action group said that six years ago, the Department of Education accepted that the school building was not suitable for the number of children attending.

Some storage rooms and play areas had to be converted into classrooms, children weren’t allowed run in the playground for fear of injury, toilet facilities were totally inadequate and the 410 children were cramped into a school built to cater for roughly half that amount.

The action group said: “There followed an unwieldy, vague and error-strewn process which frustrated us so much that in June 2014 we, the parents, established our New School Action Group.”

The group held public meetings, developed online lobbying campaigns and one of the parents at the school, wedding and event planner, Peter Kelly AKA Franc, put together a frozen-themed protest.

In January 2016, planning permission was granted for the new 24-classroom complex on the Duntahane Road.

Teacher at the primary school and All-Ireland winner Tomás O Sé said: “The situation in the old school was totally unacceptable. The animals down in Fota Wildlife Park had more space to run around in than our children. Now, thankfully, that has been rectified and not before time. The children will love it and so will the teachers!”

Vivienne Dempsey, Chairperson of the New School Action Group, said: “It’s hard to believe that we’ve come this far. When we started our campaign, the new Gaelscoil project in Fermoy had all but stagnated. There were lots of empty promises from politicians, and so many unanswered questions.”

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