Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Education, Thomas Byrne has called on Minister McHugh to explain why the funds provided for the Summer Works Scheme have dropped to their lowest level since 2016.

The purpose of the Summer Works Scheme is to devolve funding to individual school authorities to undertake small-scale building works which, ideally, can be carried out during the summer months or at other times that avoid disrupting the operation of the school.

Earlier today, the Government announced €30 million will be provided to schools for works such as structural improvements, electrical works and projects for special needs pupils. However, in 2018 the figure was €40 million while €47 million was provided in 2017.

Commenting on the matter Deputy Byrne said, “It is disappointing that we have seen yet another drop in this payment. The Summer Works scheme is one of the few ways that schools can get funding for works needed to upgrade ageing buildings, upgrade facilities and do the larger pieces of work which may not be viable at other times of the year.

“It is particularly galling to see Minister Bruton’s name appear in today’s statement. Surely, if the Government was committed to assisting schools in reducing their carbon footprint we would see an increase rather than a decrease in investment?

“The amount paid out this year is the lowest it has been since 2016. Despite claims that the school’s capital budget has not been cut, it is clear it has been moved down the priority list. Minister McHugh should come forward and explain why this is the case,” concluded Deputy Byrne.