Anger in the air over Dromore High delay

Dromore High School. BL08-618dmcw
Dromore High School. BL08-618dmcw

There’s anger in the air this week amid claims that another opportunity to press ahead with Dromore’s new high school has been missed.

Dromore High has long campaigned for a new building to replace its current over-stretched home and recent years have seen significant progress towards achieving that aim.

There are those, however, who argue the project has since run into unnecessary delays at a time when almost a third of Dromore High School students are being taught in temporary classrooms.

Leading protests locally over the lack of a funding announcement for the post-primary sector is Lagan Valley MLA Jonathan Craig, who recently quizzed Stor mont Education Minister John O’Dowd on the matter.

Said Mr Craig: “I was furious with the Minister of Education when questioning him at the Education Committee about a capital announcement for the new Dromore High School build, where he refused to make any announcement around the post-primary sector. He admitted that Dromore High was very highly placed and believed that the next education minister would be in a good position to make a positive announcement on it.

“He is going to announce projects in the primary sector to allow work to commence on them.

“I pointed out that well over a year ago he had authorized the purchase of the new site for the school, but that no further work - ie planning permission or contracts - can be advanced until an announcement is made.

“I also pointed out that he has now put the education authority in the invidious position of possibly having their accounts qualified as they are now holding a multi-million pound asset in the new site but have no way of moving forward with that asset.

“I am angry that yet another opportunity for the school has been missed.”

Mr Craig said Dromore High School’s need for a new home was “exceptional” .

“The capital spend is now there, thanks to Finance Minister, and the announcement will have to be made by the new minister as soon as he or she is appointed,” he said.