asked the Minister for Education if he is aware of the serious concern of educational authorities, parents, teachers,et cetera because of the long delay in having building extensions carried out at Ballina vocational school, County Mayo; and when it is proposed to have this urgent work undertaken.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Mayo School.
My Department some weeks ago authorised the County Mayo vocational education committee to prepare tender documents for the extension of Ballina vocational school. It is hoped that building operations will commence during the year 1972-73.
Is the Minister aware that the urgency of undertaking this work has been stressed very clearly by a councillor who is a member of the vocational education committee and who was very critical of the delays involved in undertaking this very urgent and necessary work in view of the difficulties experienced by the pupils and teachers in the school? Pupils had to try to do their work in a bicycle shed and other out-offices. Does the Minister not appreciate that it is of the greatest importance that this work should be undertaken forthwith? In view of the promises which were made, can the work not be undertaken at an earlier date?
As the Deputy is aware, I am sure, we have a very heavy commitment in relation to the building and the reconstruction of schools generally. I pointed out to him that I hope the work will commence in 1972-73. The vocational education committee were authorised to proceed with the preparation of documents required for the purpose of inviting tenders for the work subject to their accepting a suggestion made by the Department regarding the layout of the metal-work room. These documents have not yet been furnished to the Department.
I do not want to be unreasonable because I regard the Minister as a reasonable man. Is he aware that in this case similar replies were given to questions of this kind? The people of the region are totally dissatisfied as a result of the promises made and the failure to achieve anything.
I would not agree that there has been a failure on the part of the Department. This has been pushed forward as rapidly as possible. As I said, I hope work will commence next year.