Frustration mounting over lack of progress on Castleblayney College

13 November 2010 No Comments by The Northern Standard

Co Monaghan Vocational Education Committee are to request a meeting with the Minister for Education Mary Coughlan on a planned visit by her to Monaghan in December to seek to advance the approval of a single campus for Castleblayney College.

VEC parents’ representative Michael McGinn made an impassioned appeal for progress in relation to the project at Monday’s meeting of the Committee, when he voiced the frustration of people in the Mid-Monaghan area over the fact that efforts to advance the initiative appeared to have stalled.

Castleblayney representative Sean McCooey proposed and Seamus Coyle seconded that the meeting with Minister Coughlan be sought.

Raising the issue towards the conclusion of Monday’s meeting, Mr McGinn lamented the fact that there were no firm proposals in relation to Castleblayney College before the VEC at the moment.  He thought the school was a victim of its own success, and because it was run well, and had good staff and excellent examination results, nothing was happening in relation to the single campus project.

The project hadn’t moved one iota in the last year, and he had to voice frustration on behalf of the parents.  It was important that the VEC talked about this issue.

Referring to the progress being made at Ballybay Community College, Mr McGinn said parents would be glad to see that, but similar progress was not happening with Castleblayney College.  Urging the Committee to redouble its efforts, he thought it was important to bear in mind that they had made the ‘Blayney project their No.1 capital priority.

VEC Chairperson Owen Bannigan described Mr McGinn’s contribution as “very well said, and very truthful.”  The Chairperson said that he knew from his contact with the CEO that Mr O’Brien was doing everything he possibly could with the Dept to try to deliver the project.

Colr Bannigan said that what made the lack of progress even more annoying was that ten years ago approval for this project had been “announced in the paper”, but nothing had ever happened subsequently.  There did not seem to be any will to move the project forward.

Mr McGinn thought it should “break all our hearts” that so much unspent capital funding was sitting high and dry in the Dept of Education.  It beggared belief that approval could not be granted to the Castleblayney project in such a situation.

The Chairperson emphasised that getting approval for a single campus Castleblayney College still remained Co Monaghan VEC’s No.1 priority.  He agreed that it was a disgrace that so much money was unspent in the capital section of the Dept.

John O’Brien said he also felt the frustration of the parents and children of Castleblayney College.  Since he came onto the Committee the CEO had prioritised the school as being the No.1 project that the VEC were seeking to obtain funding for.  The CEO was doing everything in his power to try to get the finance, and it was disgusting that at a time when there was so much money unutilised in the Dept, Castleblayney remained neglected.

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