Politicians welcome O’Dowd’s decision on local schools

LOCAL politicians have welcomed the Education Minister, John O’Dowd’s, commitment to investing in new build schools for the Dungannon, Coalisland and Cookstown areas.

Those which have been selected for approval are Gaelscoil Ui Neill in Coalisland, Edendork PS, St Patrick’s Academy in Dungannon, and Holy Trinity College in Cookstown.

Mid Ulster SDLP Assembly Member, Patsy McGlone, said the announcement by the Minister had been the result of a long campaign to secure a commitment to the projects.

“I pay tribute to those from the schools, principals, teachers, board of governors and parents, who worked hard in the pursuit of these new builds”, said Mr McGlone.

“The approval of the new school building projects in Mid Ulster is a welcome investment in our young people and a much needed boost for the local construction industry.

“The need for new build schools at these sites has now been accepted by the Minister and there must be no further delay in progressing these projects.”

Sinn Féin MLA for the area, Michelle O’Neill, also welcomed the news.

“This is an extremely positive step and will go some way to ensuring more and more of our children are provided with a first class education in a modern, suitable environment”, said the Mid Ulster MLA.

“The Minster also announced the creation of a £40m schools enhancement programme to improve school buildings.

“Under this scheme, £20 million will be made available over each of the next two years and individual schools will be able to apply for funding of up to £4million for refurbishing or extending existing buildings.

“This is good news for all concerned with making sure our children have a first class education. The investment benefits to the construction industry and wider economy are also going to have a positive effect during these lean times.

“This announcement provides a potential investment of up to £625million to the local economy and secure some 6200 jobs in the construction industry on these projects.

“The announcement will be very much welcomed in Mid Ulster as schools from Gaelscoil Uì Neill Clonoe, Holy Trinity in Cookstown, Edendork Primary School and St Patrick’s Academy in Dungannon have been given very positive news.”