First ever school to be divested in Ireland faces uncertain future

Parents of children of the first school to be divested are concerned about its future.

Canal Way Educate Together in Dublin 8 has five years left on a lease, with no clarity on whether the Edmund Rice Schools Trust will renew or not.

The Department of Education said it aims to see 400 schools divested by 2030 - so far there are 10.

Canal Way Educate Together used to be a Christian Brothers school, and was the first in the State to be divested.

The school is halfway through a 10-year lease, which the owner, the Edmund Rice Schools Trust, has no plans to renew as of yet.

Principal Dermot Stanley said that the Department of Education has shown little interest in their case.

"We were the flagship, and we worked so hard, and the families bought in, and everybody slogged to make this work, and we have - but it has been in the face of adversity by the Department of Education," he said.

"We just haven't had the support, and the building still has all the outstanding legacy issues."

Those issues include too few toilets which back up daily, heating that doesn’t work and windows that need replacing.

Mother of two pupils and one hopeful pupil, Deirdre, said that they need certainty on the school’s future.

"there needs to be a long-term vision in relation to it, the kids need to know that this is going to be their school, and they're not going to have to up and move in a few years' time."

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