School building delays simply unacceptable
Labour education spokesperson Aodhán Ó Ríordáin said the stalled process of building 58 new schools shows a lack of foresight from the Department of Education.
Deputy Ó Ríordáin has called on the Minister to address the Dáil on this issue to provide detail on the potential knock on effect of this announcement.
Deputy Ó Ríordáin said:
“It is deeply concerning that Minister Foley has failed to grasp the Education Budget and spend monies allocated to the Department efficiently. With runaway construction inflation, the increasing cost was entirely predictable.
“To learn that up to 58 school building projects have been stalled is deeply concerning. Nationwide, school communities are under enormous pressure to accommodate local children who need a place for September.
“We need clarity about whether funding for all 58 projects will be decided all together or on a case by case basis. If it is the 58 together, this will be devastating for many schools anticipating the commencement of building.
“I am demanding that the Minister come before the Dáil and explain to the public just how this happened on her watch and what the knock on effect will be of this announcement.
“Indeed I understand that schools were only informed of this decision last Thursday by the Department of Education. This is no way to do business.
“In my own constituency of Dublin Bay North every year we have parents scrambling for places in primary and secondary schools particularly across the northern fringe of Balgriffin, Clongriffin and Baldoyle. These delays can only exacerbate this problem.
“I am also very concerned that Educate Together builds will be impacted by this mismanagement at the Department of Education – four in Dublin Bay South alone. Parents are crying out for alternatives to the traditional Catholic educational ethos. The lack of options out there for parents who want to bring their children up without the influence of the Church is ridiculous.
“The Minister must ensure that she seeks additional capital to scale up the building of schools and allows for the over 16% inflation in construction costs.
“Schools that have been delayed must be given assurances by the Department that they will be able to go to tender next year and commence building works. Otherwise, there will be an insurmountable backlog of school building projects in the system.”