Fianna Fáil Education Spokesman Thomas Byrne TD has expressed grave concern at reports that the Department of Education has paid almost double the vendor’s estimate for the Harold’s Cross greyhound stadium and has called on Minister Richard Bruton to move quickly to explain what has happened in this case.

Deputy Byrne commented, “When this project was first announced, I expressed concern at the price paid in light of the fact that it was almost equal to the entire annual budget for school sites.

“Now we learn that the Department appears to have paid twice the estimated cost. The valuation office appears to be citing rezoning issues as a reason for the hugely inflated price, but this makes no sense at all. Rezoning lands to cater for schools would be considered a relatively straightforward process.

“The Minister for Education Richard Bruton needs to move quickly to give a full explanation. Capital spend within the Department is something that I have been expressing concern about for some time. This morning’s news comes almost six months to the day since the Minister announced 42 new schools with about half expected to open next September.

“However, to date, parents in all of these areas have been given no information whatever about progress and I have deep concerns about the effect that such a huge overpayment for the Harold’s Cross site will have on their establishment.

“I look forward to an early statement from the Minister on the Harold’s Cross situation and the progress on these 42 other projects,” concluded Byrne.