Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan Brendan Smith says his party will place the Minor Works Scheme for schools on a statutory basis if it is in government.  Concerns have been raised that the scheme may not be rolled out in 2018.

Deputy Smith commented, “The Minor Works Grant is an important payment for schools across Cavan and Monaghan as it provides funds for essential maintenance and for buying equipment and many schools depend on it to keep running.

“Minister Bruton’s decision to only commit to funding for 2017 has raised concerns among principals that it may not be forthcoming this year and this is fast becoming a serious issue. The Department of Education has traditionally allocated around €30m for the grant every year – and schools and boards of management have budgeted for it.  If it is not paid out, it will cause serious financial stress for these schools.

“Schools are dependent on this scheme to remain open, and if there are issues around its payment, parents may be asked to increase contributions and engage in more fundraising to pay for essential works, which should be covered by the government.

“The Minor Works Grant should not be at the mercy of the Minister of the day.  It should be placed on a statutory basis with clearly defined timelines to ensure that schools are not left in the lurch.

“My party will be bringing forward proposals to begin this process and will be calling on cross party support for the measure”, concluded Deputy Smith.