Cathaoirleach of Wexford County Council Councillor Paddy Kavanagh has called for St Senans Enniscorthy to be purchased by the Department of Education and Skills as a campus for second and third-level education. The Cathaoirleach was speaking following the recent announcement that the landmark HSE building and surrounding lands are to be offered for sale next month.
Councillor Kavanagh believes the iconic building and surrounding lands could play a key role in helping Wexford to meet its goals in terms of developing educational and workforce skills, improving work readiness and providing paths to employment. He emphasised Wexford’s exceptionally low rate of third-level attainment (currently 20.9%) – the third lowest in the country – stating that this was a direct result of having just one third level institution in the county. Councillor Kavanagh also pointed out that the vast majority of those Wexford students seeking a third level qualification are obliged to travel outside the county, resulting in a significant loss of the young adult population from the county.
In a reference to the Wexford Social, Economic and Community Plan which is due to be launched in the coming days, Councillor Kavanagh said the re-development of St Senans and surrounding lands into a state-of-the-art education campus would help to develop and grow a culture of educational attainment within the county, a key goal within the Plan.
“Wexford suffers from low education attainment at all levels” said the Cathaoirleach. “It is clear from the recent AIRO Report that there is a real need to re-educate a large proportion of our relatively low-skilled workforce, and a modern education campus in St Senans, with both second level and third level facilities on offer, would go a long way to addressing these key deficiencies.”
Councillor Kavanagh also referred to the suitability of St Senans as a central location for third-level education services within County Wexford, adjacent to the N11, while the development of New Ross and Enniscorthy bypasses, both of which are progressing at pace, will transform access to Enniscorthy from every part of the county and beyond. He also commented that St Senans is located within 2 km of the Council’s soon-to-be-developed Science and Technology Park, with significant opportunity to create strategic linkages between both facilities.