Mr Murphy addresses the gathering

A crowd of over 120 people packed into the assembly hall in De la Salle College Macroom to support the school’s drive to force its way onto the Department of Education and Science’s 2016 – 2021 Capital School Building Program. It was with great disappointment that the school community learned late last year that the school had not been placed on the list, given that there has been an application with the Department since 1998.

The meeting was chaired by Canon Donal Roberts, Chairman of the school’s Board of Management. The gathering was addressed by former Principal Mr. Noel Dunne, who explained the history of the school’s application for funding, and by current Principal Mr. John Murphy.

In criticising the lack of “a level playing pitch” for the school’s students in terms of facilities, Mr. Murphy was nevertheless at pains to emphasise the impressive nature of the examination results obtained by the students. He praised the school staff, the students and their parents for their commitment down through the years.

With student numbers set to reach over 320 next September, the school will then be at 130% of its official capacity. A study of local demographics suggests that the number of students could swell to over 420 within the next few years, making the exclusion of De la Salle from the list all the more unacceptable. A Greenfield site has already been obtained for a new school build, and this will include an impressive adjoining unit to accommodate special needs students from the local community.

A number of local politicians who attended the meeting all called for the reversal of the decision by the DES to exclude the school from the building program. Election candidates Mr. Michael Creed TD, Cllr Aindrias Moynihan and Jason FitzGerald all appeared incredulous at the situation and pledged their ongoing support for the school. All contributors from the floor of the meeting were very positive in their opinions of the school, and a suggestion that a petition be organised was welcomed.

As things stand, the next opportunity for the school to be considered for even the first stage of the next round of investment won’t be until 2021. Canon Roberts was emphatic in stating that the various stakeholders in the school’s future need to be pro-active in ensuring that the school doesn’t have to wait until then to see that progress is achieved.