Fianna Fáil Councillor, John Paul Feeley has expressed his shock at the announcement by the Chief Executive of Cavan Monaghan ETB that the Minister for Education has approved the development of a new school to result in the closure of St. Bricin’s College, Bawnboy and St. Mogues’s College, Bawnboy.
“I am shocked that the Minister for Education & Skills, Joe McHugh TD has ignored the wishes of the people on the ground in relation to the proposal of Cavan Monaghan ETB to close two schools with resulting devastation for the catchment areas serviced by them. In the Local Election earlier this year, the views of the relevant communities were made clear. Despite clear opposition and the failure of the ETB to engage with the local community the ETB have pressed ahead with this ill-conceived proposal.’
‘Since the election the ETB Committee has effectively been non-existent. It appears that the Chief Executive of the ETB pressed ahead knowing that a newly constituted ETB would not be as favorable to the rushed and unconsidered proposal made by him last year and rammed down the throats of the Board, the staff and the wider community.’
‘Despite thousand of letters and emails and requests from Deputy Brendan Smith, Minister McHugh has been never made himself available to meet the local community groups. Instead he has bowed to the demands of ETB officials who have lost the veneer of democratic legitimacy since the old ETB board ceased to exist last May.’
‘It should be noted that the Ministers approval is to build a school on an unknown site, for which no designs are ready, no planning in place and most importantly no money allocated. This is simply a way for the ETB to avoid doing what it needs to do to invest in the two existing schools. At this stage Cavan Monaghan ETB need to convene and rescind its previous approval of this plan and get on with providing the children of the two catchment areas with the secondary education they deserve.’
Fianna Fáil Councillor, John Paul Feeley has welcomed the provision of €50,000 funding to complete work at the carpark on Miltown NS.
‘Having worked very closely with Keith Conefrey Principal and the School Board of Management I know the work to be done will be very useful, improving safety for those accessing the school and segregating vehicles and pedestrians.’
Noting that only six of the fifteen projects submitted by Cavan County Council to the Department of Rural Affairs Councillor Feeley stated that CLÀR funding is substantially down in 2019 over last year.
‘Almost fifty projects were submitted in 2019 to Cavan County Council who has to narrow it down to a maximum of fifteen for submission to the Department. Therefore Council officials familiar with the projects and aware of local need had already vetted this projects in a way that the Department could not.’
‘It is a huge disappointment for those projects that had got over the high bar set by the Council and which now have received no funding in 2019. Furthermore only one project was approved in the entire Cavan/Belturbet Electoral Area which is a massive disappointment. It would make one wonder as to what criteria is actually used in the Department.’
Finally, Councillor Feeley noted that normally CLÀR funding is announced in the early part of the summer to allow schools get work done during the summer holidays.
‘The announcement is months late. It is a a major challenge for the schools involved to get the work done when children are running around the playground and parents and buses bringing children to and from the schools involved.’
‘The late funding the cut in funding in 2019 would indicated that the same level of interest is not there from Government and perhaps Minister Ring and his colleagues are punishing Rural Ireland for the poor showing of Fine Gael in the Local Elections earlier this year.’
‘Last year a second round of funding assisted two projects over the initial thirteen announced by the Department. I call on Minister Ring and his Government colleagues to look again at CLÀR funding in 2019 and make a substantially better allocation to much needed projects in Rural Ireland.’
‘Either way the good work done by the unsuccessful applicants must head the queue for future funding.’
Cavan Belturbet Municipal District Council have approved the Part VIII Planning Applications for two significant projects in Belturbet and Ballyconnell.
‘Earlier this year under the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme €500,000 was allocated to Cavan County Council for the development of a Recreational Train from Turbet Island out to the Shannon Erne-Waterway and Old Aghalane and on to Corraquill Lock 1 reconstructing an old crossing of the Rag River with matching funding of €200,000 from Cavan County Council own resources. This 6km trail will follow the towpath of the Woodford River.’
‘Cavan County Council, working with local community interests have been working to create a network of recreational trails to enhance local amenity but which linked together to form longer trails. This section will, subject to funding extend to Ballyconnell and onwards to link into the Cavan/Leitrim Railway Greenway and in the other direction link into the Ulster Canal Greenway and the Cavan Town Greenway on a phased basis.’
Planning Approval for the redevelopment of Ballyconnell Market House will allow Cavan County Council to seek funding for the repurposing of this significant building in the heart of the Town for Community and Business use.
‘The local community and Cavan County Council have worked closely to restore the Market House from securing the building from the Defense Forces to the significant work to protect the exterior of the building and the Market Square.
Cavan/Belturbet Municipal District today approved the Part VIII Planning Application for the development of the Cavan Town Railway Greenway going from Loretto Road using the access road to the Cavan Town Sewerage Plant along the old railway line, cutting through the lands owned by the HSE at Cavan General Hospital and out onto Golf Links Road.
‘I have being working closely with local residents in the Loretto Road, Carrickane Area of Cavan Town to improve the road, footpath and cycling infrastructure in the area. The approval granted today allows Cavan County Council to proceed with drawing down the €200,000 allocated earlier this year under the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme (ORIS) 2018. I am delighted that this work should be completed by the end of this year, it will involve providing infrastructure for walkers and cyclist and will preserve and enhance an old overpass bridge on the railway line.’
The funding allocated will connect with the significant works ongoing on Loretto Road in recent years which has included the construction of a footpath along the entire length of the road, surface improvements and the provision of public lighting.
‘Under the Smarter Travel Initiative footpath and cycle lanes now run along Cathedral Road, past the Cavan Institute, St. Patrick’s College, out the Old Butlersbridge Road to Loretto College. The Council Roadworks Programme have over the past two years invested significantly in upgrading the road, footpaths and lighting from the entrance road of the Cavan Sewerage Treatment Works to the junction with Golf Links Road.
‘The will remain the need to provide a footpath to Farnham School, something that can be done with goodwill on all-sides and the provision of a footpath link around the junction of Golf Links Road and Loretto Road. All considered huge progress has been made in recent times on the improvement of the roads, footpaths, lighting and cycling infrastructure in the Carrickane Area. I thank the local land owners affected, the local community for their constructive engagement and the staff of Cavan County Council for working on securing funding and spending it well.
‘Plans and tender documents are ready for the bridge near Loretto College and subject to funding should move to construction later this year or early next year.’
‘The Cavan Town Railway Greenway can be the first on developing a greenway linking Cavan onwards through Butlersbridge to Cloverhill, linking into the Ulster Canal Greenway and also the Cavan/Leitrim Railway Greenway which depending on funding will develop on a phased basis.’