Sod off as sod returned to Minister - Political Quote

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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Sod off as sod returned to Minister

Sod Off! as Minister sent sod by registered mail


Labour's Cllr Keith Martin has told the Minister for Education Batt O'Keffee TD "to keep his sod until he presents the pupils of Westport's Gaelscoil na Cruaiche with a contract for their new school."


Cllr Martin has taken the unusual step of posting the actual sod turned by Batt O'Keeffe at the school's site last week to the Minister's office in Dublin with a letter asking him to return the sod only when he has secured a contract for the building work.


"It is most unusual that a sod turning ceremony should take place without a contact being in place to begin the building.  I think the sod turning by the Minister has more to do with the upcoming local elections than with the provision of a school building.


"The problem is that this school was given the go-ahead in 2006 and the question is why are the pupils and their parents still waiting for their much promised building and why was it only Fianna Fail councillors and the Cathaoirleach who were invited to the ceremony and not all nine members of the council?"

"You only have to look to Davitt College in Castlebar who have had so many false starts to their sports hall to see where this kind of empty gesture gets you.  No sod should be turned until a contract is in place.  Anything else is just for show.


"I have been involved in the campaign for a new school building since my election in 2004, I attended every rally and protest for the school here in Westport and I met with the parents and management when they presented the petition to the council looking for a site and at that meeting promised them my full support.


"As Chairman of the Pairc na Coille residents association and as the only councillor on the Golf Course Road I facilitated the proposal to find a site on the Golf Course Road for the school and as a councillor I voted to sell the site to the Dept of Education for the school when Westport Town Council granted full planning permission for the site.


"I have also made numerous representations on behalf of the school and the Parliamentary Labour party, have at my request, asked several Parliamentary Questions on the issue.


"I welcome the news that the school is once again back on the agenda after three years of no action what-so-ever but the school has been waiting 14 years for a new building and I think it is just a joke that Minister can swing into my area and turn a sod for a building without a contractor being appointed. 


"I only hope that there will be real action on the school but in the meantime the Minister can keep his sod until he delivers a contract.  Then he can have his ceremony and I hope everyone will be invited this time!"


 Cllr Keith Martin
086 0691182

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