THE body campaigning for a gaelcolaiste or Irish speaking secondary school to be established in Maynooth has said it is very willing to sit down with other groups applying for patronage of a planned new second school in the town.
Following a public meeting organised by An Foras Patronuacha (AFP) in the Glenroyal Hotel on Wednesday last 23 November, AFP spokesperson, Caoimhin O’Eaghra said it is open to working with all prospective patrons, to ensure that what ever model of community school is chosen that an Irish-speaking would be provided. Around 110 people attended the Wednesday night meeting, say AFP, which represents 58 primary Irish speaking schools (gaelscoileanna) and three gaelcolaiste.
While the Department of Education said it has ruled out a gaelcolaiste for Maynooth, AFP said that there is plenty of demand for an Irish-speaking secondaryin the north Kildare area, given the number of gaelscoilleanna.
The Department has sanctioned ten new schools for the country, including three gaelcolaiste, including Balbriggan and Dundrum in Dublin and Carrigaline in Cork.
“The community has asked us to apply for one in north Kildare,” he said.
AFP estimates there are 1,600 students in gaelscoilleanna in the Maynooth, Leixlip, Celbridge, Kilcock and Dunboyne areas and there would be demand for a gaelcolaiste for 400 to 500 students. Colaiste Cois Life, the Lucan gaelcolaiste, used by some Kildare students now, will reach full capacity soon. If only half the 180 students emerging from in gaelscoilleanna in the area each year opt for a gaelcolaiste, there will be sufficient demand with well over 500 over six years.
He said that while the Department is prepared to sanction an Aonad or Irish speaking classes at the proposed new school in Maynooth, AFP cannot understand why it won’t sanction a gaelcolaiste and is prepared to talk to other applicants.