THERE was heated discussion during the Council’s Environmental Services Meeting as members reacted to what they believe was “inaccurate” correspondence from the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools (CCMS) around Shared Space Project Application for St Mary’s High School, Brollagh under the PEACE IV scheme.
Last month council wrote to the Minister for Education after learning there may have been pressure to “not look favourably” upon the application, which came to light after the school’s Parent Action Group obtained documents through a Freedom of Information request.
However, according to CCMS the application was submitted without the knowledge or approval of the Trustee and a number of concerns were highlighted, particularly around child protection and safeguarding as well as potential adverse influence.
Chief Executive Alison McCullagh told members she met with the CCMS senior staff and, “The message is they remain committed but the reasons the project could not proceed are as stated.”
The SDLP’s Councillor Adam Gannon refuted comments with the CCMS correspondence, particularly around the purported lack of approval sought.
“The Board of Governors approved the project and that’s standard procedure. There’s been work done like this in numerous schools and there has never been this issue. I’ve never, ever heard of CCMS or the Department of Education trying to pause funding for schools. This is parents and the community wanting to make a local school better, so to suggest otherwise, just sounds insane.”
Councillor Anthony Feely, Sinn Fein express “grave concerns” to the content of the CCMS letter and rejected the St Mary’s principal first became aware of the project in summer 2020.
“I challenge that. It’s simply not the case. I can confirm parents have emails shared with senior management from April 2019 when there was also a site meeting. The principal was there as were parents, representatives from PEACE IV and this council. I’m shocked and surprised at the CCMS version. Its not accurate at all,” he claimed.
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