Fianna Fáil Education Spokesperson Brendan Smith has welcomed the fact that the Government has adopted the strategy of the previous Fianna Fáil Government on reducing the use of prefabs in schools, and using grant aid to build permanent classrooms.
Deputy Smith said: “This is a welcome development. Fianna Fáil in Government introduced this policy as far back as 2008. As a result, the amount of money spent on prefab buildings has been significantly reduced over the past four years.
“In 2008, the Government introduced a policy allowing schools that were approved for devolved grant aid to use this money to build a permanent classroom rather than buying a prefab. Schools were also allowed to use grant aid to buy new accommodation rather than renting it.
“This has not only reduced the reliance on prefabs, but has significantly brought down the costs to taxpayers. The cost of schools renting temporary accommodation at primary and post primary level was cut from €53m in 2008 to €39m in 2009 and €29m in 2010.
“In his press release today, Minister Quinn seems to take claim for this policy as if it were new. It is not. He criticises the situation in 2007, failing to mention that the new policies introduced the following year slashed rental contracts from 715 in 2007 to 20 by 2009. So while Minister Quinn proudly claims that 200 schools will be given the option of building a permanent classroom this year, in 2009 the previous Government gave 557 schools the same option.”