Department of Education must commission independent review into Cavan/Monaghan ETB plans for St. Mogue’s Bawnboy & St. Bricin’s Belturbet

‘The Department has to stop the ETB non-sense on this whole sorry saga. The Management Team, staff, students and school communities need to see independently prepared plans prepared for both schools which will allow both to grow and prosper in the future. The ETB need to take their uncosted, un-approved and siteless proposal for a new school which no community group or individual ever sought, off the table now. I am calling for the Department to conduct an independent review of the whole process todate. Lessons need to be learned and the ETB must not be allowed to continue with their ‘children’s hospital’ style programme.’
Responding to recent media coverage suggesting that Cavan/Monaghan ETB are to prepare a feasibility report on the sites of St. Mogue’s and St. Bricin’s to accommodate required extensions with the aid of external experts, Fianna Fáil County Councillor, John Paul Feeley has called on the Department of Education and Skills to intervene and commission a detailed study of both schools independently.
‘I was amazed to see the spin but on a proposal by the Cavan Monaghan ETB to prepare an internal report being floated as ‘consultants to examine feasibility of school extensions.’ This proposal floated after the last meeting of the ETB was never mentioned at the ETB Board Meeting. It is an internal report which will dip into favourable expert opinions. It is a smokescreen to provide legitimacy to the unmitigated mess that the ETB has made of the development of these two secondary schools and the ‘kite – flying’ in proposing a new school in Ballyconnell.’
Concluding, Councillor Feeley noted that Cavan/Monaghan ETB is one of three ETBs in the country not to have adopted and published a Strategic Plan.
‘I understand that each ETB has a statutory obligation to publish a Strategic Plan setting out the goals and targets of the organisation as agreed by the members. I do not see the Cavan/Monaghan Strategic Plan on their website. If they have one, surely it should be freely available? If they have one surely it should set out major plans like their proposal to close two schools, the rational for the proposal and the methodology for the public consultation etc. The reality is that Cavan/Monaghan ETB have been caught trying to fob a ball of smoke as coherent planning and sadly public representatives on the Board and on the Boards of Management of these schools have fallen for it. Many of them are talking out of both sides of their mouths, praising the schools and the achievements of students and staff on one side ad on other working to undermine them by allowing the ETB progress plans for closure. The only answer now if the Department to have all of this independently examined.’
ENDS

Butlersbridge Playground a credit to the local community – Feeley

The people of Butlersbridge can be proud of their working in developing a new playground,’ stated Fianna Fáil Councillor, John Paul Feeley who attended the official opening on Sunday last, 10th March 2019.

Despite snow showers, the sun escaped the clouds for the few speeches and subsequent blessing by Fr. Brian McElhinney before the first children officially used the playground. Snows showers, wind and cold did not keep a good crowd of local children and adults from attending this special event.

‘I was delighted to have the chance to work with the local community and the Community and Enterprise Section of Cavan County Council in preparing an application under the CLÁR Programme in 2018 to secure € 50,000 which together with local funds from Butlersbridge GAA Club and the Parents Association of Butlersbridge National School put this fantastic facility in place.’

The playground is located within the grounds of Pairc Emmet provided by the GAA Club.

‘The Butlersbridge GAA Club are to be commended on making a corner of their grounds available for the playground. It is an ideal, safe, secure location. The GAA grounds offer something for everyone in the community from the playing pitches, the walking track, meeting rooms and gym.’

Concluding, Councillor Feeley acknowledged the many projects undertaken by the local community in recent times.

‘Late last year the community with the help of LEADER funding administered through Breifni Integrated completed a new carpark and hard-surface play area to serve the local school but also to provide parking for the GAA grounds and local cemetery as needed. This is a busy community and the volunteers who make so much happen are to be commended, their new playground is a credit to the local community.’

Marking Seachtain na Gaeilge, children from the local school preformed the Hacka as Gaeilge.

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Left to Right Tara Kaldanis, Cllr. John Paul Feeley, Sonia McEntee, Tommy Owens, Caoimhin O’Reilly, Fr. Brian McElhinney

ENDS

Roads Budget for 2019 is nothing to boast about-Feeley

The Roads Programme for 2019 was agreed at the March Meeting of Cavan County Council providing a total of € 12 million on Local and Regional Roads, € 7 million for the National Road Network and € 269,254 under the Local Improvement Scheme.

‘Every euro spent in the County on our road network is to be welcomed but the this Road Works Programme is nothing to boast about. The allocation for Local and Regional Roads has risen to € 12.8 million well below the high of € 18.6 million in 2008. The increase does little more than keep with inflation on labour and material and is about half of what engineers estimate we require to maintain our road network, never mind bring about the kind of improvements needed.’

Fianna Fil Councillor also recognised the great work done by the staff dealing with roads, from the staff in Road Design, the local area offices and the staff on the ground who together with contractors carry out the work of maintaining the roads.

‘Whilst we as Councillors agreed the Road Works Programme, we must recognise that this is one of a series of Road Works Programmes which underinvest in our roads. The deteriorating road conditions in the County are clear to be seen to anyone who travels around the county.’

Concluding, Councillor Feeley highlighted the € 269,379 allocated under the Local Improvement Scheme.

‘This announcement is € 30,000 less than the first tranche of funding provided in 2018. It is an insult to those on the waiting list in Cavan. 225 applicants are on file in Cavan, on each of these lanes there are many homes and farms affected by a poor standard of road. The Council is currently processing applications lodged in 2008. The allocation is an embarrassment and those in Government should be ashamed of it.’

ENDS

National Broadband Plan still a disaster, €50 million later and not an inch of cable laid – Feeley

The latest revelation that the National Broadband Plan (NBP) will cost multiples of the initial estimated cost and may not proceed are just the latest twist the sorry tale that is the provision of Broadband to rural communities throughout this region and the country,’ stated Fianna Fáil Councillor, John Paul Feeley

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar told the Dáil that the decision had to be made as to whether or not the NBP would proceed or not would be made before Easter.

‘A National Broadband Plan is an absolute necessity. There are still over half a million Irish households and businesses in rural areas and also in towns and villages without access to a fast and reliable broadband service; something that is not a luxury but an absolute necessity for the survival of these communities. Massive over-spends did not prevent the Government pressing ahead with the National Children’s Hospital and many other large projects but when something that is rural based it seems that however essential it is, as far as the Government is concerned optional.’

Concluding, Councillor Feeley stated that all Oireachtas representatives in the region must unite to demand the prompt rollout of the NBP, pointing out that the deadline of a plan announced in 2012 is now rolling out beyond 2023.