The long-running saga regarding Gaelscoil Cluain Meala moved to another phase recently, when the plan for the HSE lands north of the bypass, just off the Heywood Road was unveiled.
The Urban Framework Plan will provide a three acre site for the Gaelscoil, which has been engaged in a fifteen year search to identify a site for a new school.The councillors were told that the County Council plan provides for the transfer of some schools, both secondary and primary from Clonmel town centre to the lands. It is also intended to provide sporting and recreational facilities which could include a 12,000 capacity sports ground (!) and to provide space for expansion of the industries located in the area.Councillors said that while it was always the intention of South Tipperary County Council to make a site available within the HSE land bank, this proposed site does not require any internal road network within the lands and thus can be built on immediately.
The Gaelscoil has operated for the last 15 years in the old council offices in Irishtown. It is now an issue as to whether the Gaelscoil can get on the Department Of Education’s School building programme. This has been a controversial issue for some time now, with management and parents at the school being very vocal in their calls for a new school. There were ugly scenes at a demonstration in Clonmel during a visit by the last Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern to the town, when management, parents and children were accused of unseemly behaviour and of orchestrating a near-riot!The plan could offer exciting options to other schools and sporting clubs based in or near the town centre. As part of an overall strategy for the town centre, it might make sense to move other schools such as The Sisters of Charity and St Marys to this site. If a sporting club were to locate there also, the potential for sharing facilities would be huge. I hope that South Tipperary County Council will explore this further. It would be of enormous benefit to the schools and the clubs themselves and would facilitate the further development of the town centre as two of the above-mentioned are centrally located and would provide much-needed parking and other development opportunities for the heart of the town.
Treasa Nic Dhiarmada, Gaelscoil Principal, has been very outspoken about the lack of progress. She said that while the site may have been identified they are still no closer to actually getting a site, as the lands have not yet been formally purchased by the County Council from the HSE. This was confirmed by a spokesman for the County Council who stated that the legal transfer of the land has not yet been completed.
So maybe this saga is coming to an end...or maybe not? Nil fhios agam!