Iím disappointed to see objections to the Castlebar Educate Together school have been lodged with An Bord PleanŠla, but Iím not one bit surprised to see who the objector is. Though councillor Frank Durcanís objections technically relate to the school's proposed location, he has made it clear he objects to the multi-denominational school in any location. He has insulted families hoping to use the school by calling them an "elitist group" because they simply want a choice in how their children are educated. They want choice in an area in which there is no alternative school but 16 Catholic primary schools. That is an unhealthy statistic for an increasingly diverse town such as Castlebar. Councillor Durcan even scaremongers with the doomsday prediction that Educate Together schools will "interfere with the whole culture" of this country. An untrue and needlessly dramatic, Trumpian threat.
A survey of Castlebar parents was undertaken in 2012 and found that there was a demand for an Educate Together school in the community. All other Castlebar councillors support the establishment of the school and the government is committed to progressing the development of Educate Together schools that will reflect modern Ireland. The independent councillor stands almost alone in his objections, but not in a martyr-like way he would like to be thought as. His stance is one of intolerance. Intolerance for anything other than his own beliefs. It is because of his intolerance that he fears something as harmless as choice. Who could possibly fear choice?
Despite the councillorís latest objections, the Educate Together school will thankfully temporarily open in a new town centre location in September until the Marsh House planning issues have been resolved.
Vive la diffťrence!
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