Fermanagh victims’ group welcomes Lisnaskea school regeneration pledge

The former Lisnaskea High School site
The former Lisnaskea High School site

A victims’ group in Co Fermanagh has said it has not had any direct engagement from the Department of Education over the future of the former Lisnaskea High School site, but welcomes the department’s commitment to its regeneration.

Last week, the region’s MP Tom Elliott slammed minister John O’Dowd for approving the site for an Irish language school with just 38 pupils – having closed Lisnaskea High due to its enrolment of 140 pupils.

In addition to the moving of Bunscoil an Traonaigh, Mr O’Dowd revealed that the South East Fermanagh Foundation (SEFF) terror victims group had also expressed an interest in the location “and will now have the opportunity to acquire the remainder of the site”.

In a public statement yesterday, SEFF chairman Eric Brown said: “A South East Fermanagh Foundation facilitated community consortium under the brand Castle Balfour Development Trust has been working with the Education Authority and its predecessor, the Western Education and Library Board for almost two years with the objective of acquiring the former Lisnaskea High School site for the purpose of then instigating a programme of community and economic regeneration.

“To date our consortium has not been involved in any direct consultation with the Department of Education concerning the transferring of lands to SEFF, we understood that the community’s interest in the site was being considered and we have been awaiting an update on the matter.

“SEFF and its community and economic partners are pleased that the Department of Education has publicly confirmed its support for our vision and the community’s desire to breathe new life into that site.”

Mr Brown added: “The closure of Lisnaskea High School was a great blow to the local community, many believe that decision and the nature of how it was completed to have been unjust.

“SEFF and other community and economic partners have long since had a close association with the former Lisnaskea High School site and our plans for the site will renew and will help rebuild the community and economic life of the south Fermanagh region which has suffered substantial hardship over the years of the Troubles.”