Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Education Thomas Byrne TD has called on the Government to pay out money to schools under the Minor Works Grants Scheme.
Deputy Byrne has confirmed that Fianna Fáil will be raising a priority question in the Dáil this week to put pressure on the Government to pay this grant.
Deputy Byrne put the question down because he says that schools are “up the walls” over the non-payment so far of the grant.
“I have been contacted by school principals who are deeply concerned by the non-payment of the grants this year. The grants are usually paid every November but here we are on the last day of the month and schools are still waiting,” said Deputy Byrne.
“Minister Bruton has announced that the Department is having a look to see if there is any spare money to make payments under the scheme for this year. This is extraordinary to say the least and there is a growing concern that the Minister’s attitude stems from a belief that he considers such grants to be optional rather than necessary.
“The truth is that many schools are forced to use the grant to supplement the inadequate Capitation Grants. For some smaller schools, the Minor Works Grant can be almost a third of their yearly budget.
“Fianna Fáil believes that these grants should be compulsory and set down on a statutory basis.
“The failure of the Minister to announce grants thus far has caused great anxiety and stress for many school principals.
“We need a positive decision on Minor Works as a matter of urgency.”