Government neglect of Donegal schools is one good reason why people will “say no to Joe” at the polls, according to independent candidate Peter Casey.
Mr Casey said that as a local TD and as Education Minister, Joe McHugh has failed to stand up to Fine Gael’s long-term “policy of neglect” towards Donegal.
Mr Casey made the comments as he joined Crana College pupils and teachers in a march to highlight the urgency for the delivery of a long-awaited three-school campus for Buncrana. He added that Mr McHugh was “notably absent from the protest march”.
Mr Casey said: “Our young people are being failed by the Department of Education and I applaud the pupils and teachers of Crana College in taking this stand. It’s shameful that they feel compelled to leave lessons and take to the streets because their school has been let down for more than two decades. It’s shocking to think that these pupils weren’t even born when Crana College first sought the new facilities they are still waiting for.
“Buncrana was promised a new three-school campus to incorporate Crana College, Gaelcholáiste Chineál Eoghain and Gaelscoil Bhun Cranncha, and site selection began almost 15 years ago. The preferred location was agreed by all concerned, but the Government’s dithering resulted in the site being sold to a third party. People are right to be angry and frustrated at this shocking level of neglect.
“Joe McHugh is the current Minister for Education in this country and he is well aware that pupils and teachers across Donegal are suffering in overcrowded conditions, temporary accommodation and inadequate facilities.
“Just down the road my home, Moville Community College has been waiting 16 years for a new permanent school building to replace existing prefabs. Nearby, Gaelscoil Cois Feabhail has been waiting almost 20 years for a new school build. There are many other local schools in similarly dire circumstances.
“The poor conditions in and lack of funding for so many of our schools in Donegal is one very good reason why voters should say no to Joe next Saturday. The next government must not only commit but also fully deliver on promises – let’s get things done by providing proper education facilities for Donegal.
“This is another example of how Donegal is ignored and forgotten. This would not be happening in Kerry. The Healy Raes would not tolerate this nonsense.”