Signs were erected across west Cavan opposing plans to amalgamate the schools.

‘No update’ on ETB school merger plans

There’s no update on the plans to amalgamate two west Cavan schools, with both recently approved for extensions at their existing sites.

The controversial plans were met with opposition when first announced in 2018 and little progress has been made since.

It comes as Cavan County Council approved plans for a large extension to St Bricin’s College in Belturbet just last week. It’s been given the green light for six classrooms, an SEN base, toilets and ancillary spaces in a modular extension.

CMETB says it has appointed a design team to manage the delivery of the modular accommodation.

St Mogue’s College in Bawnboy will see a total of seven classrooms, including an SEN base, toilets and ancillary spaces. This project too will be made up of modular accommodation.

CMETB says the new SEN base “will facilitate current and future enrolment of SEN students”.

That project is at the initial design stage, with a design team to manage delivery of the project.

CMETB had planned to close both schools, with a larger and state-of-the-art secondary school to be built in Ballyconnell. The organisation had said the move would safeguard the future of secondary education in the area, while also providing improved facilities and resources to both students and teachers.

However, fierce opposition met the proposals from some locals in the communities of Bawnboy and Belturbet, with some local representatives also rejecting the plans.

Work on the early planning continued following the announcement, with Cavan County Council engaged with a view to locating a suitable site in Ballyconnell.

However, the plans have been put on the back burner since a meeting between CMETB and the Minister for Education almost exactly a year ago.

Asked if there was any update on the projects since, CMETB said “there are currently no further updates regarding the proposed amalgamation of St Mogue’s College and St Bricin’s College”.

The news of the new accommodation at both schools was welcomed by ETB board members and local Councillors Brendan Fay and Seán Smith.

Speaking at the recent board meeting, Cllr Fay said the extensions would be “great additions to the schools”.

Cllr Smith meanwhile said the “amount of work is phenomenal”.

“St Mogue’s has overcrowding. It’s great to see the investment taking place. I just hope it can all move at a rapid rate.”

It’s expected the new accommodation at St Bricin’s will be completed in the second quarter of 2023, while planning permission for the St Mogue’s development is yet to be obtained.