Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Education and Skills Thomas Byrne TD has called on the Government to focus on honouring its existing education commitments.

Deputy Byrne made the comments following the latest Government announcement where it pledged to increase capital spending on education over the next decade.

Deputy Byrne said, “We have seen a plethora of press conferences and policy launches by Minister Bruton in recent months but little in the way of actual delivery. Parents have little faith in the announcements made by this Government considering its inability to deliver on the commitments that it makes.

“Take for example the announcement of 42 new schools last April. Approximately half of these schools were expected to open in less than a year, but the latest information available shows that the delivery of a single school remains a long way off. The patronage process has only been completed for four of the schools and there is no evidence of any site purchase agreements in place whatsoever. It’s clear that Minister Bruton is incapable of delivering on the deadlines that he set himself.

“The headline figures behind the latest education capital spending announcement sound impressive, but when you look under the bonnet you realise that this is just more spin over substance by this Government. The increase in schools capital spending per year is €46m. For context, the increase in capital spend between 2017 and 2018 was €43.6m so in reality there has only been a small overall increase per year despite the Government spin. This increase will just about keep up with the cost of construction inflation.

“Minister Bruton and his colleagues should focus on delivering on their outstanding commitments and dial down the press conferences relating to schools that probably won’t be delivered for at least a decade,” concluded Deputy Byrne.