CORK’S city councillors were under fire last nightafter they voted
againstrezoning a site for a new gaelscoil.
The vote effectively means that the 300 students of Gaelscoil an Ghoirt Álainn
in Montenotte — the city’s first multi-denominational gaelscoil — will continue
to be taught in what have been described as “ramshackle” conditions.
The Department of Education, which has been working on the project for
almost five years, which cleared funding and sought planning permission for
the new school this year, will now have to go back to the drawing board.
Last night’s vote to rezone a 2.3 portion of the 11-acre Tank Field was
watched by more than 100 people who packed into City Hall’s public gallery.
Councillors were asked to rezone the 2.3-acre portion from sports ground
zoning that would give the Department of Education planning permission for
the new school.ഊThe meeting heard that the controversial rezoning was one of the most
emotive to come before council in recent years and that it has split the
The meeting was also told that the crucial vote was the last stage of a process
which councillors embarked upon over two years ago.
City manager Joe Gavin outlined how the council had in March 2005 agreed
to sell a specified area of land at the Tank Field to the gaelscoil for the
development of a new school.
In February 2006, councillors agreed to a process to realign Brian Dillons’
GAA pitches on the Tank Field to ensure that no sporting amenities were lost,
The department then lodged a planning application for the 2.3-acre site for an
ultra-modern two-storey 16-classroom school.
However, a material contravention of the city development plan would be
During the course of a lengthy debate, Cllr Damien Wallace (FF) said he felt
councillors had a “moral obligation” to proceed with the process.
“We are on the third rung of the process,” he said.
Cllr John Kelleher (Lab) said: “We can’t say no to 300 children waiting
expectantly for a new school.”
Responding to questions, however, Mr Gavin said he had indicated to the
department that other sites could be available if the rezoning of the Tank Field
Despite advice from senior planners, and despite agreeing to the previous
steps, 13 councillors voted against the rezoning.
They are Fianna Fáil’s Terry Shannon, Tim Brosnan, Tom O’Driscoll, Mary
Shields and Tony Fitzgerald, Fine Gael’s Patricia Gosch, Brian Bermingham,
Denis Cregan and Jim Corr, Labour’s Mick O’Connell and Denis O’Flynn,
Independent Dave McCarthy and Green Chris O’Leary.
Mr O’Leary and Mr Corr said they could not support the rezoning of a sports
Reamonn Ó Riann, secretary of the school’s board of management, said
parents were devastated with the outcome.
“The vote means the children will have to continue being taught in prefabs,”
he said.ഊ“It’s so hard to get money out of the department. When we got on the building
list, we thought all the hard work was done. Parents are just so devastated,”
© Irish Examiner