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Students protest over delayed opening of €2.7m Kildare school

St Anne’s national school in Ardclough, Kildare was “completed” in December 2011 but remains vacant because minor problems uncovered during an inspection remain unfixed.

UP TO 200 students and parents are expected to gather outside a €2.7 million Kildare school this morning to protest against the delay of its opening – 18 months after it was completed.

St Anne’s national school in Ardclough, Kildare was “completed” in December 2011 but remains vacant. Meanwhile, 250 pupils and 18 staff are continuing to use “overcrowded prefabs clustered around a 1949 building”, protest organisers say.

After the announced completion of the school in December 2011, the facility failed a health and safety inspection by the authorities. The Department of Education subsequently identified the problems, which did not involve a major infrastructure investment, and announced that it would appoint a builder to rectify them. The school is otherwise complete but, as of April 2013, remains empty.

Meanwhile, the building is reportedly running up heat, lighting, maintenance and security bills.

Protesting students and parents have created their own ‘whiteboards’ bearing the sentence “I want my school to open because…”, with 384 reasons cited so far. Mary, 7, says she wants the new school to open because she is “tired of sharing my classroom with furry friends (mice) (another one)”. Tom, 8, wants the new school because he doesn’t like “having a puddle in my class every time it rains”.

Parent Leeann Matthews, commented: “It is appalling that this facility remains closed. If a builder doesn’t commence work on the new school within weeks it will not be ready for the new school term in September 2013”.

It is hoped that the protest, due to take place this morning at 9am, will encourage the Department of Education to expedite the final step of completion of the facility.

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