Casting vote could secure new school for Renton, according to community activists
Chairperson Karen Conaghan and Council leader Jonathan McColl
By Bill Heaney
The Catholic Church in Glasgow archdiocese has come out against the building of a new Catholic primary school in Renton, according to a parents’ activist in the village.
Drew MacEoghainn claims he has been told by West Dunbartonshire Council leader Jonathan McColl that the Church “are supposedly against a dual campus school” – in Renton Main Street, where the present non-denominational school is sited.
He told parents who are anxious about future education provision for their children in Renton that if the voting went their way at an upcoming education committee they would get the new school they have been campaigning for.
He said: “There are 22 positions on the education committee, but two places are vacant giving us 20. The SNP have eight votes plus [chairperson] Karen Conaghan casting vote giving them nine.
“Add these to [Labour’s] Martin Rooney and John Millar, who have given assurances they will vote along with parents then that gives us 11 and a majority.
“According to [SNP leader] Jonathan McColl, the Church are supposedly against a dual campus school, but he is unwilling to make public who from the Church stated this.
“But the church doesn’t carry great weight in the deliberations, but are only part of considerations.
“We don’t need the church or lay people to back us although some have highlighted their willingness to do so, just the SNP and Labour and Renton will get the St Martins we deserve in our village.”
Mr MacEoghainn, who has children at St Martin’s, added: “It was confirmed [tonight] that if the SNP join with Labour, who have highlighted their willingness to back parents’ views and utilise the SNPs Karen Conaghan casting vote as chair of the education committee, then St Martins will get a new school.”
Parents’ Council chairperson Stephen Storrie is amongst those supporting the comments made by Mr MacEoghainn.
Long serving community activist Louise Robertson thinks there is light at the end of the tunnel at last for the new school supporters.
She said: “Some sense at last … well done each and every one of you [people who have been part of the campaign].”
Drew MacEoghainn (pictured right) summed up: “We still need to convince the SNP to vote with us, but I personally think it’s tantamount to political suicide to vote against parents’ wishes. As you will know this village has long memories and will be unforgiving of any politician who we believe has betrayed our village.”
The Catholic Church in Glasgow has been asked to confirm or deny they are against the new school plan and we are awaiting a comment from their media office. Meanwhile, the alternative plan being discussed is to house the St Martin’s pupil in St Mary’s PS at Ferryfield in Alexandria. SNP leader Jonathan McColl refuses to comment to The Democrat.
STOP PRESS: A spokesman for the Archdiocese of Glasgow said: “The Archdiocese will make its views known when the various options have been published in the consultation.”