Residents living near the Tank Field in Cork city have vowed to continue their campaign against construction of a new gaelscoil on the site, despite losing a legal challenge in court yesterday.
The Department of Education has planning permission for a new two-storey school to replace the current Gaelscoil An Ghoirt Álainn which is currently accommodated in prefabs.
Work is set to start on the new school next year but a group of 20 residents had mounted a legal challenge to stop the project, saying their right to ‘wander and saunter’ on the field would be denied.
However, their challenge in the Cork Circuit Court was rejected yesterday with Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin who said there was nothing to stop Cork City Council going ahead with plans to sell two acres of land for Gaelscoil An Ghoirt Álainn and to rearrange Brian Dillons’ playing pitches.
Despite this result, residents today said their campaign was not over and were planning a meeting in the coming days to discuss their options. They added that further legal action was just one of a number of options they would be considering.
A joint statement from the Montenotte Park Residents Association and Murmont Residents Association said they believe more strongly than ever that it was fundamentally wrong for city council officials to seek to sell a part of the Tank Field and give the remainder to a private organisation on a long-term lease.
“This is particularly so when the city council’s own development plan states that there is already a shortage of public open space in the north-east of the city and the councillors have twice refused to accept the recommendations of the officials to rezone the Tank Field.”
“We are examining all our options and we will continue our fight to keep the Tank Field as a public open green area.”
“The campaign is not over. We are determined to continue in our opposition,” local resident Brendan Goggin told the Evening Echo.
In a separate statement, the Board of Management of Gaelscoil an Ghoirt Álainn, along with the parents and teachers, welcomed the court’s decision.
“Now that we have planning permission on this site and are listed by the Department of Education and Children under the schools building programme for 2013, we look forward to progressing with the development of a new school suitable for the education of our children and one which will benefit the community as a whole.”
The long-running dispute has seen city councillors vote against rezoning land to accommodate the school on two occasions, only for their decision to be overturned by An Bord Pleanála.