Fianna Fáil Education Spokesperson has called on Education Minister Joe McHugh to ensure that no school building projects will be cut as a result of Fine Gael’s Children’s Hospital fiasco.

“As a result of Fine Gael’s complete mismanagement of the Children’s Hospital budget, plans are now being examined to cut capital budgets – a move not seen since the recession.  Despite the protestations of Minister Harris that capital budgets are multi annual, this is clearly untrue.  We are hardly even into a multi week situation in 2019 and building projects are already being paired back”, said Deputy Byrne.

“The children of Ireland will be the ultimate losers as the fallout from the hospital overspend continues.  They don’t deserve to be hit with a double whammy via a cut to school building projects.

“This government is already falling behind on school buildings, with many new schools without permanent sites and other older buildings in a state of disrepair.

“It is essential that Minister Joe McHugh does not accept a cut to his building budget.  He must stand up for the children of this country.

“Unfortunately, the Children’s Hospital debacle is likely to have ramifications beyond 2019.  Minister McHugh must therefore get a multi annual commitment that his school building budget is ring-fenced and increased as necessary.  A commitment not to cut in 2019 is not sufficient.

“Minister McHugh gave a very wishy washy answer on this matter when I asked him in the Dáil last week.  That is just not good enough for our children”, concluded Deputy Byrne.