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Schools waiting for refurbishments shouldn't be pushed to the back of the queue

13 April 2018

Statement by Joan Burton TD
Spokesperson on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and the Arts

Labour Finance spokesperson, Joan Burton TD, has called on the Minister for Education to explain whether plans for new schools will impact existing school refurbishment projects, and whether extra capital has been provided to fund the new builds.

Deputy Burton commented:

“While welcoming the objective of today’s announcement- the provision of new schools that are obviously needed to meet the growing population demands- it also raises a number of questions that the Minister for Education needs to provide clarity on.

“We need to know what is happening to the hundreds of school projects that are already on existing lists, and whether these refurbishments will be impacted, delayed or put on hold indefinitely. Existing schools waiting for years for rebuilding and refurbishments don't deserve to be put at the back of the queue.

“There are a lot of schools that were built in the 1960s and 70s that are in dire need of renovation, which students and parents have been patiently waiting on for a number of years, and today’s announcement has understandably caused concern that these projects might now be delayed further.

“The Minister needs to explain where the capital is coming from to build these new schools and if the Minister for Finance has granted an extra allocation of funds.

“Have the sites already been allocated, and if so, has the capital been provided for the State to acquire these sites?

“The last Government committed to ridding our schools of prefabs, but now the Minister’s statement implies a renewed reliance on prefabs and small patch up jobs- how disappointing from a Government that is planning to lock a billion a year in a rainy day fund.”