A PRINCIPAL of a school on the Glen Road has said there has been a 250 per cent increase in their gas bill in one year. 

Principal Paddy McCabe of St Oliver Plunkett Primary School, however, insists that the surge in costs will not impact on the quality of education in the year ahead.

“There is that recognition right across the schools in West Belfast, these are going to very very difficult times for us as schools obviously but we're also very aware that these are going to be extremely difficult and trying times for our parents and our children, and we have to do everything that we can to try and benefit and support them as much as we possibly can," he said.


“With regards to the financial implications that increase utilities bills have had, the Board of Governors of our school are extremely supportive of us as a school and the children within the school and one of the things that they’re absolutely adamant about is that a utility bill will not impact on the quality of education that our children will receive.

"That has been relayed to our staff as a whole. We won’t cut corners because of an increased gas bill which is not the doing of this school.

“We’re very proud of the fact that we’re part of the greater West Belfast community, organisations like the West Belfast Partnership Board have been superb, sharing of practice right across the schools and very supportive of each other.”

The school which has a formal link with South-West Belfast Foodbank also hosts a morning Breakfast Club for its pupils. 

“We have a formal link with South-West Belfast Foodbank because we as a school want to be there to support the community but equally so South West Belfast to support any of our families who need that support in a confidential manner,” said Paddy.

“Family helps family, when you become a part of our school I stand up and say to you you’re a part of the family at St Oliver Plunkett, it’s not just words."

Regarding the Breakfast Clubs, the Mr McCabe added: “Those programmes are being run right across schools which is fantastic, there is a twin benefit to them. The children are coming in and they’re getting a nutritious breakfast which is super and having that time before the start of the day meeting friends, making new friends as well, but also allows working parents that need to access it, it’s there for them.”