Public Petition: St Conor’s Primary School, Omagh: Additional Parking and Traffic-calming Measures

Assembly Business – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 12:00 pm on 26th April 2021.

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Photo of Alex Maskey Alex Maskey Sinn Féin 12:00 pm, 26th April 2021

Mr Daniel McCrossan has sought leave to present a public petition in accordance with Standing Order 22. The Member will have up to three minutes in which to speak.

Photo of Daniel McCrossan Daniel McCrossan Social Democratic and Labour Party

I present a petition on behalf of 1,301 parents, grandparents, carers, pupils, teachers, staff and residents who either attend St Conor's Primary School on the Brookmount Road in Omagh or live nearby. I would be grateful if it could be forwarded to the Minister of Education for consideration.

The petition reads:

"We, the undersigned parents, carers and teachers at St Conor's and local residents living near the school, call on the council, local authority and the Department and Minister of Education to work together to provide additional safety measures at the school."

St Conor's is a busy, vibrant school. It is on a small plot of land next to a busy road. There is no land on the school site that could be used for extra parking or to assist with or alleviate that serious concern. There are 440 pupils and over 50 teachers on the site, and it is clear to anyone who goes to the school at the start or end of each day that there is not sufficient parking or space on the existing school site to ensure the safety of children, teachers or parents.

The petition shows the strength of public support for a resolution of the situation. Some 1,300 people signed the petition in just under a fortnight, not online but in the old-fashioned way by hand. I have already flagged the issues with the Minister of Education, Minister Weir. To his credit, he responded promptly to confirm that departmental officials were working with St Conor's Primary School and other agencies to improve the situation.

The petition shows the strength of feeling in and around St Conor's. I have raised the issue with local council chief executive Alison McCullagh, who confirmed:

"The council would be willing, in principle, to facilitate the development of the car park on its land adjacent to the school."

I believe that we are making progress. The current situation is unsustainable, and the petition shows that people who live nearby and who use the school feel the same way. I hope that the Minister of Education and his officials can, in consultation with other agencies and the council, come up with a workable and practical solution to the problem.

Photo of Alex Maskey Alex Maskey Sinn Féin

As the Member knows, I would normally invite him to bring his petition to the Table and present it. However, in light of social distancing, I ask the Member to remain in his place and make arrangements to submit the petition to my office. I thank the Member for bringing the petition to the attention of the Assembly. Once the petition is received, I will forward it to the Minister of Education and send a copy to the Committee.