BARRING an eleventh hour intervention, it looks almost certain that Monday next, 24th March is the last chance for people objectors to the proposed closure of Brollagh High School making their voices heard.
The battleground has spread to Derrygonnelly parish where, last weekend, parishioners where invited to sign a letter.
A notice in the parish bulletin explained that the letters would go to the Department of Education prior to the minister, John O’Dowd making a decision.
It added: “This is about our children and our future. Your support is urgently needed.”
The parish provides about 20 pupils to the current school enrolment of 120.
According to the letter, if the school closes, parental choice will be non-existent for the people of north-west Fermanagh.
“Add to that the probable creation of two large, single sex Catholic schools in Enniskillen, and the prospects or young rural children to receive the education they desire is gone.”
The letter set out four options that, it is argued, will allow post-primary education locally to continue.
They are – a north/south education model, a 4-14 education model, St Mary’s becoming a rural academy, and a review of State funding that would allow schools that are genuinely small and rural to operate.
The lettering campaign was organised by the Brollagh Parents Action Group.
Its vice-chairman, Francie Maguire told the Herald that the closing date for submissions was Monday next, 24th March, at 3.40pm.
“We have sent on all the responses we got back from the secondary schools, and we have yet to collect the ones from the primary schools. There have been quite a number that have come back, and (independent councillor) Bernice did the Masses in Derrygonnelly at the week-end.”
Mr Maguire said he hoped all responses would be returned to St Mary’s this Friday for forwarding to the Western Board or to the department in Bangor.
Ms Swift, in a statement to the Herald, claimed there was an attempt at deflection by the Stormont government to place responsibility (for closure) elsewhere when ‘it is firmly the Minister’s Sustainable Schools Policy which attempts to thwart rural education on site at Brollagh’.
“This obvious travesty, especially given the unique location of this particular area, made me drive the initiative to seek support from our Botha parishioners who overwhelmingly signed in support to save education at Brollagh.”
SDLP councillor Brendan Gallagher, who lives in Garrison, added his voice to people to respond.
“It is important that there is good community support to counter the proposal on the part of CCMS to close the school.
“We don’t believe there has been enough done on the proposal put forward by the action group. It’s now up to the Department of Education, with CCMS, to properly explore that proposal.”
To read more.. Subscribe to current edition