New schools announcement raises concern – Byrne

Fianna Fáil Education Spokesperson, Thomas Byrne, has called on the Minister for Education to urgently clarify the status of 20 to 30 new schools which the Government recently went out to tender on.

Deputy Byrne was commenting as the Department of Education published a detailed contract notice worth an estimated €700 million for the design and building of between 20 and 30 schools across the country.

He said, „It is concerning that the Minister for Education has gone ahead with a tender for the establishment and construction of over twenty new schools when so many previous school building works announcements remain incomplete.

„We all want to see much needed schools built but he is putting the cart before the horse again. In the first nine months of 2019, only 17 of the 42 schools announced in April 2018 have opened their doors.

„The remedial works on up to 26 schools built by Western Building Systems remain incomplete while schools across the country have been waiting for years in temporary or extremely old accommodation.

„This announcement will see at least 7 new schools established. While these are welcome, and will likely be needed to meet demand, we cannot have a situation where they are added to the long waiting list of schools which are waiting on a permanent home.  It is deeply concerning that the notice states that some or all of the school projects in this bundle may have a requirement for interim temporary accommodation.

„Far too often when it comes to the Department of Education, temporary accommodation takes on a permanent meaning with children spending their entire school years in temporary structures.

„We cannot allow a situation to develop where the Minister and his respective colleagues head off across the country hosting photocalls and announcing new schools but fail to deliver on the ones they have promised,” concluded Deputy Byrne. 

Fianna Fáil

Thomas Byrne TD

Spokesperson on Education

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