Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Education and Skills Thomas Byrne TD has criticised the Government over its failure to meet its own deadline for the construction of new schools across Ireland.
Deputy Byrne made the comments after the Department of Education and Skills revealed that the construction of 21 new schools earmarked for 2015 is yet to get underway.
Deputy Byrne said, “The Government announced to much fanfare back in December 2014 that a number of new schools would be built across the country in order to meet rising demand as a result of demographic changes.
“The Government indicated that construction of these schools would get underway in 2015. However new information which I have obtained shows that construction hasn’t even got underway at a number of these schools, meaning that it will be years before they are actually up and running.
“To make matters worse, Minister Bruton can’t even set out when construction will get underway for 21 school building projects. In some instances a site hasn’t even been selected yet. In many other cases the project work is at a very early stage and the delivery of a new school remains a long way off.
“The lack of progress with the school building programme is inexcusable. Students are suffering due to the delay in progressing these projects. Many students are being taught in overcrowded classrooms which is having a detrimental impact on their education. Teachers are also being forced to rely on substandard resources due to a lack of space, especially in cases where temporary portakabin accommodation is in use for years on end.
“Minister Bruton needs to knuckle down and ensure construction gets underway on the remaining projects. These new schools were meant to be delivered long ago and further delays cannot be tolerated.”