Councillors lend support to Donacloney bid

Craigavon councillors have backed a motion to lobby the Education Minister to reverse his decision on capacity at Donacloney Primary School.

It comes in the same week that Education Minister John O’Dowd has acceded to the request of fellow Assembly member Stephen Moutray to meet with members of Donacloney School to discuss his decision not to award the school an extra class.

Mr Moutray said: “I am very pleased that Minister O’Dowd has agreed to meet with the Donacloney Primary School representatives given the work and the effort from our DUP team to try and have the Minister rethink and overturn his recent decision not to grant the additional class.

“Parents whose children have ultimately been refused a place at Donacloney because of his decision have been very exercised about this matter and rightly so, therefore we are delighted that the Minister will take time to hear from the principal and members of the board of governors about how their school has been impacted by this
decision.”

At last week’s council meeting, Ulster Unionist Councillor Colin McCusker proposed a motion for council to write to the Education Minister and the Chief Executive of the SELB stating its support for Donacloney’s development proposal for an extra class.

Mr McCusker said: “I wrote to the Minister on behalf of all the grandparents and parents who contacted me in desperation as their children were unable to get a place at their local Primary School,” adding that he was refused.

“This is the same Minister that said of consultation – ‘it clogs up the system’.”

Sinn Fein Councillor Liam Mackle said: “The Minister has put the area plan in
place.

“An extra classroom for Donacloney will have repercussions across the area and schools will have to be closed elsewhere.

“He won’t play populist politics with this.”

A vote was taken on the motion with 13 voting in favour, none against and eight abstentions.