What now for the site of Lisnaskea High?

PRIME REAL ESTATE...Lisnaskea High School

PRIME REAL ESTATE…Lisnaskea High School

WITH the news that Lisnaskea High School has been removed of its educational resources, questions have arisen regarding future plans for the vast site.

Certainly to be considered a prime piece of real estate due it’s size and location within the town centre and opposite the police station, the Western Education Library Board has said it will consider all proposals made.


A Western Education and Library Board (WELB) spokesperson said: “The Board has no future educational plans for Lisnaskea High School.  At the consultation meeting, held in February 2013, members of the community asked if WELB would give consideration to the building being used by the community. The Board will consider all proposals.”
The Controlled Primary Schools within the area are considered by WELB as rural schools which will remain at their current locations.  The WELB has no plans to relocate any primary schools to Lisnaskea HS.

Kenny Donaldson of SEFF, who have a close association with the action group stated his belief that they were not finished in terms of their opposition to the amalgamation with Devenish College.
Mr Donaldson did concede though that if all the avenues had been explored and the action group was unsuccessful, SEFF would consider buying the site.

“Without question the site must fall within community ownership and not for development or housing. It’s not that SEFF is on the edge of its seat ready to pounce though, we will support those in the campaign group who wish to exhaust all possible options.”

Mr Donaldson expressed his deeply held views that the site must remain in community control and must remain a voice for the minority.

“A lot of work has to be done for confidence and a sense of identity in the minority community. Much of the work to be done at SEFF (South East Fermanagh Foundation) is to build people’s sense of themselves.

“We have to have a hub or identity for a minority community. We don’t have that, we don’t have a place, the people feel like strangers.

“In Northern Ireland because of what we have been through people are almost tolerant towards their neighbours and there is no killing, but do the majority of the community truly welcome the minority in their community? I think across the board that isn’t the case.


“The point is in 2013 if you’re from the protestant community would South Fermanagh be an attractive place for you to move into? Would Comber be an attractive place for a catholic?

“The majority of the community have a lot of work to do in this part.”

Reporter Gareth McKeown asked some more prominent members of the Lisnaskea community what they felt the site should be used for

Tommy Clarke, Head of the Lisnaskea Chamber of Commerce

“I certainly wouldn’t want to see it become a derelict site, that wouldn’t be good for the aesthetics of the town. It is a big enough site for a call centre or data centre and I just hope we would have the broadband and power connections to allow something like that to come to town. These are difficult times to attract that type of business, but it is a good site, good size of footprint and I think we would all like to see something go there.
“Something like that is not going to happen quickly, but hopefully the powers at be will get their thinking caps on and encourage some type of investment to come to the site.”

Drew Wigham, Manager of Dowlers

“I don’t know what the best thing would be, it’s hard to comment. I spoke before about G8 legacies and one of the things I said was that Fermanagh could do with a couple of good high end manufacturing businesses. The second was to do with the improvement of b and bs and more of them to improve tourism facilities, but you wouldn’t put b and bs on that site obviously. It’s really about bringing jobs and money into the community, that’s what we want. Certainly a big manufacturing business would be ideal.”

Sean Lynch, local Sinn Fein MLA

“I believe the town and the community should have an input in what it is used for. Community sports facilities could be one possible use. Big business units could be another possibility. It is an accessible, prime site and there are plenty of possibilities. People should come together along with political representatives to meet and see what can be delivered. MLAs could also meet with the First and Deputy First Ministers to see if business could be attracted . There is also a group in the council which looks at promoting special projects like the old hospital site and the bypass, perhaps they should also look at Lisnaskea.”

Alma Kinnear, proprietor of ‘The Kissin Crust’

“I would like to see it continue to be used for educational purposes, perhaps try to work with South West College and use the site as a training centre for people of all ages, men or women for whatever skills are required to be taught in the county. It is up though to the powers at be to provide the money. Another idea could be a driving centre, there are lots of different ideas that need to be explored. Of course they could also build a five star hotel, that would be something totally amazing, but very unlikely.”

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