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Old 21-10-2009, 02:05 PM
PatrickJim PatrickJim is offline
 
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Default The Tank Field Mayfield/Montenotte

Anyone see this yesterday?



The struggle over the siting of a Gaelscoil raises serious questions about segregation in education, writes ELAINE BYRNE

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/...257054567.html


‘SAVE THE Tank Field” is the rallying call of the posters on the telephone polls and hedgerows dotted in the Cork housing estates north of the river Lee, from Patrick’s Bridge up to St Luke’s into Dillons Cross, Mayfield and finally to Montenotte. So called because a large water tank serviced the immediate vicinity when houses were first built in the 1930s, the struggle for the Tank Field merits comparison with a John B Keane play.

The 2.5-acre field is the only open public green space in northeast Cork city and lies on the boundary between affluent Montenotte and working-class Mayfield. It seemed like any other field to me when I visited last week. Local primary schools were playing a football match and elderly people were walking their dogs. But a white line painted on the wall, denoting the proposed site for Gaelscoil Ghórt Álainn, makes this no ordinary field.

In November 2006, the local residents’ association was shocked to discover that Cork City Council had used its statutory powers in 2001 to acquire this field at a nominal cost without any prior consultation with the community.

The council then proposed to sell the land for €750,000 to the Department of Education for a new 16-classroom school for the Gaelscoil, which directly adjoins the Tank Field and has operated from temporary prefabs in the overflow car park of the local Brian Dillion’s GAA club since 1998.

In response, the 10 roads around the Tank Field each elected a representative to the Save our Tank Field campaign in 2006. Some three years later, this local campaign to save a community resource has found itself caught up in questionable decision-making processes by the Department of Education, An Bord Pleanála and Cork City Council.

In a joint letter to the Department of Education, five local school principals wrote of their “serious concern” about the €5 million proposal to build the Gaelscoil. The principals asked why the department was building a school in an area with a declining population (6.3 per cent fall between 1996 and 2006, according to Central Statistics Office figures). They also noted that the area was already serviced by nine primary schools within a 3km radius. In fact, a new school, Gaelscoil Uí Drisceoil, was established nearby in the past year.

The five principals starkly wrote that “a large Gaelscoil with attendant up-to-date resources will polarise the education community in an already deeply stratified community”. Their schools, they noted, were in band one of the Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools (Deis) programme.

Deis is a designated disadvantage-status programme for schools, which provides additional resources such as a school meals, a books grant scheme, reduced class sizes and other supports.

Gaelscoil Ghórt Álainn is not a designated disadvantage status school, which suggests that students currently enrolled in the Montenotte/Mayfield-located prefabs do not, in the main, come from households below the poverty threshold. The five principals were not consulted about this decision, nor was a meeting granted by the Department of Education to discuss their concerns.

Documentation received under the Freedom of Information Act also shows the department has not responded to a proposal by the nearby Mayfield GAA club to sell its excess land as a school site. And the department rejected a possible site on the grounds of Mayfield Community School, just 400m from the Tank Field, which incidentally has incredible resources of a kind that any school would be envious of, including a swimming pool, five basketball courts and a sports complex.

When I visited Roy Keane’s former school last week, substantial land attached to the school was underused. The school, designed for more than 800 students, has now fewer than 300 and could clearly accommodate the Gaelscoil at a much reduced cost, on an existing educational complex, without having to continue to pay rental for the prefabs.

But the Department of Education, it seems, is determined not to build the Gaelscoil in Mayfield. Instead, its decision to allocate €5 million of scare resources to build additional classrooms in an area with an already healthy supply of educational infrastructure will deprive residents of their only communal green space. Daft? It gets better. The department has paid rent to Brian Dillon’s GAA club since 1998 for the car-park space which the Gaelscoil prefabs lease. This land is not owned by the GAA club but the city council, which leases the land to the club at a nominal value. It is not known how much the department has paid the GAA club over the past 11 years. It is extraordinary, however, that a GAA club can profit by unknown sums of money through renting land to the State which is actually owned by the State.

During the course of their campaign, the local community discovered serious shortcomings in the planning process.

An Bord Pleanála overturned a decision by its own inspector to refuse planning permission because the board decided a Gaelscoil in Montenotte/Mayfield was of “strategic importance”. Although the residents successfully lobbied local politicians not to amend the Cork City Development Plan, which originally zoned the field for sports use, they remain unconvinced because the city manager has refused to meet them.

This might have started out about a field but it ends up asking serious questions about Department of Education’s policy on Gaelscoileanna and the incremental segregation of our education system.
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  #2  
Old 21-10-2009, 02:31 PM
Mossybanks Mossybanks is offline
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The tank field is in Mayfield.

"Montennotte," me hole.

Heh heh heh....


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  #3  
Old 24-10-2009, 04:25 PM
richiepurg richiepurg is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mossybanks View Post
The tank field is in Mayfield.

"Montennotte," me hole.

Heh heh heh....


Isn't in surrounded by Murmont estate ? Built by MURphy in MONTenotte
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  #4  
Old 27-10-2009, 03:48 PM
Stall De Ball Biy Stall De Ball Biy is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richiepurg View Post
Isn't in surrounded by Murmont estate ? Built by MURphy in MONTenotte
Good one!
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  #5  
Old 27-10-2009, 03:54 PM
richiepurg richiepurg is offline
 
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Originally Posted by Stall De Ball Biy View Post
Good one!
That really is how the estate got it's name. The builder was the late Tony Murphy who was immortalised in a short film called Gay Future ( about a horse , not man on man ). Niall Tóibín played the main part.
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  #6  
Old 27-10-2009, 03:57 PM
duffer31 duffer31 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PatrickJim View Post
Anyone see this yesterday?



The struggle over the siting of a Gaelscoil raises serious questions about segregation in education, writes ELAINE BYRNE

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/...257054567.html


‘SAVE THE Tank Field” is the rallying call of the posters on the telephone polls and hedgerows dotted in the Cork housing estates north of the river Lee, from Patrick’s Bridge up to St Luke’s into Dillons Cross, Mayfield and finally to Montenotte. So called because a large water tank serviced the immediate vicinity when houses were first built in the 1930s, the struggle for the Tank Field merits comparison with a John B Keane play.

The 2.5-acre field is the only open public green space in northeast Cork city and lies on the boundary between affluent Montenotte and working-class Mayfield. It seemed like any other field to me when I visited last week. Local primary schools were playing a football match and elderly people were walking their dogs. But a white line painted on the wall, denoting the proposed site for Gaelscoil Ghórt Álainn, makes this no ordinary field.

In November 2006, the local residents’ association was shocked to discover that Cork City Council had used its statutory powers in 2001 to acquire this field at a nominal cost without any prior consultation with the community.

The council then proposed to sell the land for €750,000 to the Department of Education for a new 16-classroom school for the Gaelscoil, which directly adjoins the Tank Field and has operated from temporary prefabs in the overflow car park of the local Brian Dillion’s GAA club since 1998.

In response, the 10 roads around the Tank Field each elected a representative to the Save our Tank Field campaign in 2006. Some three years later, this local campaign to save a community resource has found itself caught up in questionable decision-making processes by the Department of Education, An Bord Pleanála and Cork City Council.

In a joint letter to the Department of Education, five local school principals wrote of their “serious concern” about the €5 million proposal to build the Gaelscoil. The principals asked why the department was building a school in an area with a declining population (6.3 per cent fall between 1996 and 2006, according to Central Statistics Office figures). They also noted that the area was already serviced by nine primary schools within a 3km radius. In fact, a new school, Gaelscoil Uí Drisceoil, was established nearby in the past year.

The five principals starkly wrote that “a large Gaelscoil with attendant up-to-date resources will polarise the education community in an already deeply stratified community”. Their schools, they noted, were in band one of the Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools (Deis) programme.

Deis is a designated disadvantage-status programme for schools, which provides additional resources such as a school meals, a books grant scheme, reduced class sizes and other supports.

Gaelscoil Ghórt Álainn is not a designated disadvantage status school, which suggests that students currently enrolled in the Montenotte/Mayfield-located prefabs do not, in the main, come from households below the poverty threshold. The five principals were not consulted about this decision, nor was a meeting granted by the Department of Education to discuss their concerns.

Documentation received under the Freedom of Information Act also shows the department has not responded to a proposal by the nearby Mayfield GAA club to sell its excess land as a school site. And the department rejected a possible site on the grounds of Mayfield Community School, just 400m from the Tank Field, which incidentally has incredible resources of a kind that any school would be envious of, including a swimming pool, five basketball courts and a sports complex.

When I visited Roy Keane’s former school last week, substantial land attached to the school was underused. The school, designed for more than 800 students, has now fewer than 300 and could clearly accommodate the Gaelscoil at a much reduced cost, on an existing educational complex, without having to continue to pay rental for the prefabs.

But the Department of Education, it seems, is determined not to build the Gaelscoil in Mayfield. Instead, its decision to allocate €5 million of scare resources to build additional classrooms in an area with an already healthy supply of educational infrastructure will deprive residents of their only communal green space. Daft? It gets better. The department has paid rent to Brian Dillon’s GAA club since 1998 for the car-park space which the Gaelscoil prefabs lease. This land is not owned by the GAA club but the city council, which leases the land to the club at a nominal value. It is not known how much the department has paid the GAA club over the past 11 years. It is extraordinary, however, that a GAA club can profit by unknown sums of money through renting land to the State which is actually owned by the State.

During the course of their campaign, the local community discovered serious shortcomings in the planning process.

An Bord Pleanála overturned a decision by its own inspector to refuse planning permission because the board decided a Gaelscoil in Montenotte/Mayfield was of “strategic importance”. Although the residents successfully lobbied local politicians not to amend the Cork City Development Plan, which originally zoned the field for sports use, they remain unconvinced because the city manager has refused to meet them.

This might have started out about a field but it ends up asking serious questions about Department of Education’s policy on Gaelscoileanna and the incremental segregation of our education system.

more evidence of the backward country we live in these days!
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  #7  
Old 27-10-2009, 05:58 PM
BarneyMagee BarneyMagee is offline
 
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That opinion piece tells one side. Here's the response.

Gaelscoil An Ghoirt Álainn

Fri, Oct 23, 2009
Madam, – Elaine Byrne, in her opinion piece in respect of Gaelscoil An Ghoirt Álainn in Cork (Opinion Analysis, October 20th), shows such disregard for balance, and demonstrates extreme selectivity and inaccuracy in relation to fact, that the piece may be described as a polemic rather than informed comment.
The article began by stating that the only public green space in the northeast of Cork city is the Tank Field. This is patently untrue. The site identified for the school comprises 2.5 acres of an 11-acre site. In so reporting, Dr Byrne was clearly relying on information supplied by one side of the debate only. Nobody among the broad spectrum of parents, teachers, politicians and, indeed, some neighbours in favour of the new building, was consulted. Nor were any of the factors in its favour canvassed. She neglects to mention that four of the five local councillors in the relevant ward voted in favour of this proposal at the planning stage.
The piece refers to the possible alternative siting of the Gaelscoil in the Mayfield Community School. This site was assessed and long since rejected by the Department of Education, on a number of grounds, including but not limited to child protection and welfare issues and health and safety concerns. Dr Byrne seeks to substitute her assessment of that proposal for that of others, almost certainly better qualified. Her fundamental misunderstanding of the geography of the area is further exposed by her statement that the school, if not placed in the community school, will not be built in Mayfield. This just does not make any sense. The Tank Field is in Mayfield. Gort Álainn is the Irish for Mayfield!
Other inaccuracies, in the areas of property law, planning law and just basic facts, lead one to believe that Dr Byrne has created a narrative to suit an agenda. Unfortunately facts often unhappily get in the way of narratives and, as such, are ignored. Journalism, and even opinion pieces, however, demand a balanced appraisal of facts with appropriate and considered conclusions.
This imprecision is compounded by the groundless slur intimating that the planning process was abused. Nothing was advanced in its support but for a suspicion on the part of those disappointed with the decision.
Segregation is a word that carries much baggage and evokes images of intolerance from other countries and, indeed, from this island. The use of this term in relation to a school of 290 students drawn from diverse backgrounds is pejorative, inaccurate and improper.
What Dr Byrne omitted to mention is that our school, as well as being a Gaelscoil, is the only multidenominational school in the area. As well as this, it is a non-fee-paying, co-educational, Irish-language school. It welcomes all who wish to educate their children in this ethos. No child has ever been refused entry to the school. It does not discriminate or segregate. Dr Byrne omitted these vital facts from her piece. The school conducts its classes in Irish, one of our two national languages recognised by the Constitution. It is unique in the area for all of these reasons.
Dr Byrne alludes to the presence of posters against the school development throughout Cork’s Northside, from Patrick’s Bridge to Montenotte. The only posters all too starkly witnessed by parents and children are in the immediate vicinity of the school.
Despite the impression given by the piece, this school has existed since 1993. In fact, it pre-dates schools also mentioned in the article. To suggest that the opinions of other schools should be canvassed in an application for a permanent building for an existing school lacks credibility. The school is currently located in a group of dilapidated buildings adjacent to the proposed new site. It was formed, and is maintained, by a group of parents and teachers who are enthusiastically behind the linguistic and spiritual ethos of the school. They are equally behind the building of the new school for the benefit of the children currently in the school and for those yet to come.
Interestingly, nowhere in her piece does the Dr Byrne refer to the children in the school, 75 per cent of whom live within a 1.5km radius thereof. Many reside in the “ten roads” beside the school referred to specifically by Dr Byrne.
One wonders why she found it unnecessary to talk to the children or their families. One wonders why a visit to the school was not made. Perhaps Dr Byrne might then have written of the appalling physical conditions in which children are being educated in post-boom Ireland. Perhaps she would have written of the spirit of inclusion in Gaelscoil An Ghoirt Álainn, of the diversity and innovation, of the possibilities for tolerance for children irrespective of their background. She chose not to.
The school is a success by reason of its positive contribution as opposed to arbitrary exclusion. It is not responsible for any purported lack of success of other schools in the area.
It is also too important to the children and the local area to be an ill-researched footnote to a flawed socio-political theory. – Yours, etc,
COLM HENRY and RACHEL O’TOOLE,
On behalf of the Board of
Management,
Gaelscoil An Ghoirt Álainn,
Mayfield,
Cork.
© 2009 The Irish Times
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  #8  
Old 27-10-2009, 06:00 PM
BarneyMagee BarneyMagee is offline
 
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http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/...294595_pf.html

Last edited by BarneyMagee; 27-10-2009 at 06:01 PM.. Reason: Double post
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  #9  
Old 27-10-2009, 09:38 PM
PatrickJim PatrickJim is offline
 
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And this is the response to the one-sided response by the Gaelscoil.

http://elaine.ie/?p=296

and

http://elaine.ie/?p=303
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  #10  
Old 27-10-2009, 10:49 PM
CHANCE CHANCE is offline
 
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The tank field shouldn't be touched. I mean the whole lot not just the main pitch up there.
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