Sammy Wilson, MP, has led DUP representatives in welcoming Sinn Fein Education Minister John O’Dowd’s go-ahead for a new school at Islandmagee.
The minister has approved planning for the school to replace the existing primaries at Mullaghdubh and Kilcoan, and Ballypriormore PS, which closed in December, 2003.
Speaking following a meeting with the principal at Mullaghdubh PS, Arlene Cambridge, Mr Wilson said: “I am delighted that after many years of hard work by the schools, parents, the North Eastern Education and Library Board and by elected representatives, approval has been given so that Islandmagee can have a new primary school.
“The case has been well made and the growing population in Islandmagee will secure its viability.
“It has been a long time coming, but it was the right decision. Land has already been acquired by the board and now we just need the minister to fund the new build and I will continue to lobby him to do so.
“I am pleased that after years to raising this, the project has finally been put on the list of schools which the department intends to go forward with.”
Larne Lough councillors Bobby McKee and Gregg McKeen welcomed the step forward. Cllr McKeen said: “I am pleased that after years of pupils being taught in less-than-ideal conditions, approval has been given for a new build. It is to the credit of the schools that they have still managed to attract good numbers to the schools and it demonstrates that parents want to have their children educated locally.”
Cllr McKee added: “The DUP wants to support rural communities and see them thrive and education provision is essential for this to happen.
“We are pleased that this decision has been taken following much lobbying.”