The CEO of Louth Meath Education Training Board (LMETB) Peter Kierans has moved to allay fears that the new Coláiste Chu Chulainn campus is not on track for a September 2016 opening.
Speaking exclusively to the Dundalk Democrat, Mr Kierans also said that in any case, there was ample contingency plans for pupils to be accommodated.
“I have every confidence that we will make the 2016 deadline,” said Mr Kierans. “It falls to me to make contingency arrangements if, in the unlikely case that deadline is not made. The CEO of the LMETB says that is more than enough room for new pupils at Chapel Street, whose operations are moving to Drogheda, and a number of other buildings under their control.
“We are looking at an Easter date for commencement of the site, and that will give us 18 months to complete.
“If there is any delay we can also build the school in phases.
“The construction side of the project is in fact well underway. We are currently completely a shortlist of contractors who will be invited to tender for the project.
It was revealed this week that the negotiations between State Solicitor and the owner of land have effectively stalled, leaving doubt over whether the 1,000 pupil Coláiste Chu Chulainn school will be ready for it official 2016 launch.
A large part of the land involved is in private ownership and the issue concerns the owner of the site and the department of Education and State Solicitor.
The first traunch of first year students started this September in Chapel Street, and another 70 or so student earmarked for 2015.
There has however been huge interest in the school’s 2016 opening, with 189 students having expressed an interest in attending what would be a brand new, purpose facility.
The matter was described as being “critical” at the inaugural meeting of the Louth Meath Education and Training Board which was held last Thursday (October 9) at their offices on Chapel Street.
During th meeting the building was described as the “most criticial” of any of the school building projects being understaken by the LMETB.
A member of the board, Sinn Fein councillor Tomás Sharkey, said that he feared that the project was losing “momentum” and that this was “crucial moment” for the LMETB.
“We are now in position where we have to restrict the numbers of pupils that being accepted in 2015 as we can’t yet provide the school. Parents are becoming disheartened.
“If we don’t have a shovel on site by January 2015 this project won’t be opening in 2016. It has to be sorted out.”
The newly elected chairman of LMETB, Nick Killian, said that matters had to be taken into hand on the political side.
“It’s up to the TDs to do their job.”