Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Education, Thomas Byrne TD has said the Minister’s announcement that the Government is unlikely to provide the Minor Works Grants Scheme in 2018, is deeply worrying for school principals and Boards of Management nationwide.
Speaking in the Dáil this morning, Deputy Byrne said, “The Minister’s indication yesterday that the grant may not be paid in 2018 will come as a bombshell to schools throughout the country. The Minister made this statement in the context of his paying out 2017 grants next week, in a very belated move.
“The €28.8 million minor works grant funding for primary schools throughout Ireland will be paid next week but we have now learned that there will be no minor works grant next year and that it is likely to be paid in January 2019.
“The only year that this grant was not rolled out was 2012, during the height of recession. It would be bizarre if, as the economy starts to turn, this were to be the key turning point at which the grant would not be paid.
“Let me be clear – this not a discretionary grant but, rather, money on which schools have come to depend on every year to do necessary minor works and without which they could not function.
What should happen and what Fianna Fáil advocates for is that the scheme and others like it should be put on a statutory footing such that Ministers would not have discretion over them.
Byrne concluded, “I hope that as part of the national capital plan he will highlight to the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Deputy Donohoe, that the grant is absolutely necessary for schools.”