Fianna Fáil TD for Laois and Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, Seán Fleming, has described as shocking the fact that the Minister for Education does not have any information on the total number of prefab classrooms in schools across the country.

“It is clear from this therefore, that the Department has no idea how many children are being taught in these prefab classrooms. This shows scant regard for the welfare of many children in our education system” he said.

“Following on from a recent Parliamentary Question which I submitted in relation to the number of prefabs in use, the Minister responded to say they do not have information on the number of purchased prefab units. They only have information on units that are currently being rented.

“The rented prefabs are only one element of the total number of prefab units but many of the prefab classrooms are in place for a long number of years and have been bought outright at this stage. It’s shocking therefore that the Department has only partial information in relation to the total number of prefabs currently used as classrooms.

“Up and down the country, children are being taught in sub-standard prefabs, many of which are over twenty years old, and are damp, cold and without proper heating. By their very nature, prefab buildings are intended to be a temporary measure, until a new school is built or upgrade works have taken place.

“Schools are relying on prefabs for essential extra capacity. I am calling on the Minister to carry out an immediate audit on the number and location of prefab classrooms and the number of children being taught in these prefabs on a daily basis”, concluded Deputy Fleming.