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Minister for Education, Norma Foley TD, speaking at the official opening of a new state-of-the-art school extension at Ennis Community College. Photograph by Eugene McCafferty

‘Attempts will be made’ to resource schools helping refugees

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EDUCATION Minister Norma Foley has said that attempts will be made to provide Clare schools with the resources they need to accommodate the large amount of refugees who have arrived in the county since the start of 2022.

Concerns have been voiced by Ms Foley’s party colleague Cathal Crowe about a shortage of school places in Shannon, and the Minister said in Ennis last Friday, that attempts must be made to match accommodation with where schools have extra capacity.

“I want to acknowledge in the first instance the incredible work that has been done by schools throughout the country, notably here in Clare.

“It’s nothing short of remarkable, what has been achieved by school communities. We’ve been very lucky in one respect that we’ve had capacity to provide places for almost 14,000 students. Notwithstanding that, we still have more students coming, we have capacity for around 50,000 places at primary level and around 20,000 places at post primary.

“The challenge now is that we would match the accommodation with where we have school capacity and we are working very closely with the Minister for Children in terms of co-ordinating that.

“I know it’s not easy from an accommodation point of view but if that could be done going forward that would be of huge benefit to us.”
She also said her department will do what it can.

“In terms of resources, the Department has been very clear on the provision of resources,we have provided significant resources, particularly in the area of teaching English as an additional language. We will continue to do that and continue to support the schools.

“I do want to acknowledge the great work that is being done on the ground by schools and the Department will provide the resources going forward as well.”

Ms Foley said that some Ukrainian teachers are now eligible to work here.

“We have a number of Ukrainian teachers who have successfully registered with the Teaching Council and more are due to be registered. We are consistently looking at other means of increasing availability of teachers across the board.”

She was speaking at the opening of a €12.5m extension at Ennis Community College/Gaelcholáiste an Chláir and she said the State is investing heavily in new educational facilities.

“It’s a significant achievement for the Department of Education that even right throughout Covid we have seen significant extensions being developed, we’ve seen significant resources come into the education sector.

“We have a very ambitious plan going forward in terms of capital infrastructure going forward. Right throughout this county we have already invested tens of millions on additonal accommodation and provision, particularly in the area of special education, and we are determined to continue with that going forward.”

Owen Ryan

Owen Ryan has been a journalist with the Clare Champion since 2007, having previously worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.

About Owen Ryan

Owen Ryan has been a journalist with the Clare Champion since 2007, having previously worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.

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