Department of Education must give strong consideration to brand new secondary school for Sixmilebridge

–        Enrolment figures in local primary schools show demand

–        Analysis will be undertaken


Fianna Fáil TD for Clare Cathal Crowe is calling for the construction of a new secondary school in Sixmilebridge, to alleviate pressure on schools in the South Clare area where those leaving primary schools are struggling to attain a place in second level.

“I have asked Minister Norma Foley and officials in the building unit of the Department of Education to do an analysis of school enrolment in the South Clare area, with the possible view to opening a new secondary school in Sixmilebridge,” said Deputy Crowe.

“By my own calculations, I reckon there are upwards of 3,000 pupils currently enrolled in primary schools south of Newmarket-on-Fergus right down to the Clare border area and when these kids complete their eight years of primary school, they typically try to enrol in the two secondary schools in Shannon, St Joseph’s in Tulla and many closer to the Limerick border – such as Meelick, Cratloe, Parteen and Clonlara – apply for schools in Limerick City.

Crowe continued: “I know all too well from my 14 years teaching in Parteen NS, the challenges that 6th Class pupils have in terms of enrolling in their secondary school of choice.

“They have to apply through a common application system in which they have to list their preferences across 17 secondary schools.

“Very often this works out perfectly and they get their school of choice, but I’ve also seen very difficult situations where a child living in South Clare is enrolled in schools as far away as Pallaskenry and Croom, in Co. Limerick.

“Sixmilebridge is no longer a village – it’s now a thriving town with a growing population and there are many towns in Clare of smaller size which already have a secondary school.

“At this time, my suggestion is just a concept, but I think we need to get an in-depth analysis of enrolment figures in primary schools and also the pathway these pupils follow in terms of moving on to secondary education.

“Whilst there has always been a difficulty in children enrolling in Limerick City schools, in recent years similar problems have been encountered in Clare secondary schools, with schools fully subscribed and many kids left waiting in a queue to see if a place frees up for them.

“Limerick has had two new secondary schools built, but the South Clare area has not – and I think the natural place to locate one would be somewhere near Sixmilebridge.

Crowe concluded: “The benefit would not just be for Sixmilebridge families but also their neighbouring communities of Quin, Newmarket-on-Fergus, Broadford, Clonlara, Meelick, Parteen and Shannon town itself.

“If the analysis that I receive back from the Department is strong and positive, I will pursue this matter much further and hold dialogue with other schools and stakeholders.