Gaelscoil na Laochra pupils ask ‘Cá Bhfuil Ár Scoil?’

Birr Gaelscoil seeks urgent action on new school building plan

The board of management of an Offaly school is urging the Minister for Education to ensure that appropriate accommodation is in place for its pupils and teachers in September 2023.

Gaelscoil na Laochra in Birr has been in temporary accommodation since it opened its doors in 2015 and is currently based in Sandymount Haven.

When it opened, it was the first multi denominational, co-educational school in Offaly. The patronage and ethos of the school was chosen by the people of Birr and its surrounding areas following a consultation process by the Department of Education. A new school was promised; however, no physical school building has materialised.

In a statement on Thursday, the school's board of management explained that planning permission had been in place for a disused building in the centre of Birr town since 2015. “However, delay after delay has meant that this planning has expired.”

It said the school’s patron An Foras Patrúnachta and the Board of Management has recently been notified that a green field site just off the N52 has been acquired for the school.

The school said it must vacate its current property by June 2023 and “therefore time is of the essence for ensuring appropriate accommodation is provided for the school on the new site.”

“The Board of Management is calling on the Minister for Education to ensure appropriate accommodation is in place for the pupils and teachers of the school for September 2023. Many other schools in the area have received extensions, new facilities and some even new buildings. Why the delay for Gaelscoil na Laochra?," it concluded.