Minister must give assurances on school builds – Byrne

Published on: 24 August 2019

Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Education, Thomas Byrne, has said the Departments lack of urgency in getting new school builds of the ground is resulting in schools languishing for years at pre-tender stages.

Deputy Byrne said that despite the promises outlined in Project 2040, many schools are not likely to see their projects realised any time soon and he called on the Minister for Education to be upfront about any projects which are going to be delayed.

Deputy Byrne said, “Information provided to me by the Department of Education shows that there are just nine new builds currently out to tender, three of which are retenders. What’s worse is that before getting as far as the tender stage, many projects are languishing at stages one and two for years.

“What I want to know is whether the Department has the funds available to progress projects to the tender stage, or, has the mismanagement of budgets across the board put the future of new builds at risk.

“We recently learned that the Department of Education, purchased the Cathal Brugha Street college for way over the odds. This comes a year after the Department also paid almost double the estimate for the Harold’s Cross greyhound stadium. This gives the appearance that the Department are using their budget as a slush-fund.

“I am also very concerned that the issues identified at Western Building System schools will further exacerbate the problems given that the cost of the remedial works couldn’t possibly have been budgeted for.

“The Minister for Education must urgently clarify whether the construction of further permanent school buildings is to be put on hold while the Department sorts out its finances”, he concluded.

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