Government must find way of keeping families on Sherkin Island

CORK South West TD, Margaret Murphy O’Mahony has called for the Minister for Education, Richard Bruton and the Minister for Gaeilge, the Gaeltacht and the Islands, Joe McHugh to put their heads together and find a solution to enable children from Sherkin Island attend school on the mainland with greater ease.
“Last week, we saw a family forced to sell their home on the island and move to the mainland in order for their children to go to school.

“The national school on the island shut its doors in August 2016, and since then, children have been making the daily commute to the mainland via boat to attend school.

“While parents have been bringing their children to the ferry since the school closed, there is no one assigned to oversee the children while on the ferry, or when they embark and need to walk to the school bus.

“It is not an unreasonable request for one of the Departments to support the employment of what is, for all intents and purposes, a ferry supervisor.

“There are two primary school and eight secondary school pupils currently taking the boat on a daily basis. In addition, there are five more children due to start primary school in the next three to four years.

“There is a social and community benefit to the State supporting these children to attend school on the mainland, and still live on the island.

“I am urging Ministers Bruton and McHugh to meet with a delegation from Sherkin Island and hear their concerns.

“If we want to keep our island communities vibrant and sustainable, we need to allow young families to keep living on the island.

“It’s time for a bit of common sense, and long term thinking when it comes to supporting our islands,” concluded Murphy O’Mahony.