Need to progress building project at St. Aidan’s Comprehensive School – Brendan Smith TD

Cavan/Monaghan Fianna Fáil TD Brendan Smith has again appealed to the Minister for Education to progress without further delay a proposed building project for St. Aidan’s Comprehensive School, Cootehill.

Deputy Brendan Smith stated that the application is in respect of the provision of additional permanent accommodation  and the upgrading of existing accommodation.

“I outlined in detail to the Education Minister, as I did to her predecessor, the need to have these additional facilities progressed without delay in view of the substantial growth in enrolment in St. Aidan’s over the years and also the increase programme of school activities.  This was one of the first Comprehensive Schools built in 1966 and having had improvement works and additional accommodation provided some years ago there is still a  need to have enhanced facilities provided to cater for the needs of the school.  This much needed project needs to be prioritised by the Department”, stated Brendan Smith TD.

Below is the reply by the Minister to my Parliamentary Question tabled in Dáil Éireann –

For Oral Answer on : 14/10/2020
Question Number(s): 74 Question Reference(s): 30281/20
Department: Education
Asked by: Brendan Smith T.D.


To ask the Minister for Education when a proposed building project at a school (details supplied) will proceed to the next stage in view of the urgent need to upgrade existing accommodation and provide new accommodation; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Details Supplied) ST AIDAN’S COMPREHENSIVE SCHOOL, COOTEHILL, CO CAVAN


In relation to the school referred to by the Deputy, I can confirm that my Department is in receipt of an application for capital funding under the Additional School Accommodation (ASA) scheme.  The School Authority has recently agreed to a proposed project brief, which includes specialist teaching accommodation, but does not include a new Physical Education (PE) Hall, as this does not fall under the remit of the ASA scheme.  

The School Authority has applied separately for major capital funding for a PE Hall.  As the Deputy is aware, the provision of PE Halls form part of the accommodation brief for all newly established schools.  These facilities may also form part of the overall accommodation brief for major capital extensions to existing schools.  Details of large-scale projects being delivered under the school building programme may be viewed on my Department’s website, and this information is updated regularly.

The main focus of resources over the last decade and for the coming period is on provision of additional capacity to cater for increasing demographics.  The second half of the NDP (from 2023 onwards) will see an increasing focus on the upgrade and refurbishment of the existing school stock.  This will include a PE Hall build and modernisation programme to ensure that students in all post-primary schools have access to appropriate facilities to support PE provision.

The immediate priority of my Department is providing new and replacement school places each year, to ensure that every child has a school place.