Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Dublin College of Commerce.

22.

asked the Minister for Education if he has received complaints from the Students Union, College of Commerce, Rathmines, Dublin, regarding the conditions there; and, if so, the action he proposes to take in the matter.

23.

asked the Minister for Education if he will ensure that Ardee House, Ardee Road, Rathmines, Dublin will be made available to the College of Commerce, Rathmines, to ease the accommodation difficulties which exist there at present, in view of the fact that the college is prepared to lease that house; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

24.

asked the Minister for Education if he is aware of the difficulties that exist in the College of Commerce, Rathmines, due to a lack of space for staff and students; and if he will co-operate with them in acquiring a building, Ardee House, which they propose to lease.

With the permission of the Ceann Comhairle, I propose to take Questions Nos. 22, 23 and 24 together. Representations have been made to me in relation to the need for additional accommodation at the College of Commerce, Rathmines. The provision of a long-term solution must be considered in the context of the overall development of third-level education in Dublin. In the meantime, I will be happy to provide pre-fabricated accommodation with a view to alleviating the present situation.

With regard to Ardee House the intention is that, when the premises are leased to the State, portion of the building will be made available to the City of Dublin VEC for renting, should the committee so desire.

Might I ask, first of all, if the Minister has satisfied himself that the prefabricated structure being erected there will be sufficient for students to carry on even with the minimum amount of comfort in which they need to study properly? Further, when is the Minister going to cease saying that he has long-term plans for this College? Thirdly, would the Minister guarantee that he will not permit this college to be moved to another part of the greater Dublin area, out of the Rathmines area? Would he give a definite assurance on that point?

Mr. R. Burke

The first answer is: "I would so consider"; the second is: "As soon as possible" and, the third, "I cannot give any guarantee at this point."

Is the Minister aware that the students have offered to pay an extra £10 fee so that Ardee House could be leased to them? Is he aware that at present the facilities in the College of Commerce in Rathmines are so bad that it is impossible for students to pursue their studies in a proper atmosphere? Would the Minister not make representations to his colleagues to allow Ardee House to be made available to the College of Commerce since the students have backed up their plea with an offer out of their own pockets to help pay for the leasing of that house?

Mr. R. Burke

I am not aware of the point about students offering the money. The Committee of Dublin VEC have not yet placed any proposal before my Department in respect of the renting of portion of that building.

If I supply the Minister with the letter which states that students are prepared to pay an extra £10 for the leasing of this house, will he give it extra consideration to ensure that their request is met?

Mr. R. Burke

I am always willing to accept information from Deputies but, in the first instance, I suggest that the information be made available to the City of Dublin VEC.

Question No. 25.

Does the Minister realise that this college is part of the local community facility and any change would be resented by the people there? It is quite obvious now that the Minister is going to put up some old huts which will cost money and will not give satisfaction and he has clearly shown that he does intend allowing the college to be transferred elsewhere. Therefore, would the Minister either (a) scrap his plans for prefabs, or (b) give a guarantee that the college will remain there?

Mr. R. Burke

I have already replied to the question.

Might I ask, a Cheann Comhairle——

The Chair thought he had given enough latitude on those questions.

I thought I would be entitled to ask one supplementary.

The Chair decides these matters. However, go ahead.

Would the Minister weigh the plans he has now outlined for the college against the request of the students? Does he feel that what he now proposes doing will help to solve this problem?

Mr. R. Burke

The solution of prefabricated accommodation was a short-term one, and will solve the problem in the short-term. The long-term solution is part of the overall education package envisaged by the Government.

Next Question, No. 25.

Who decides priorities between the students and the VEC? Is it not obvious to the Minister that the priority of the students is the greater at this point in time?

Mr. R. Burke

If the Deputy is asking me would I prefer to see students in permanent accommodation I would say: "Yes, I would". But is is not always possible, as the Deputy well knows, to provide this in the short-term.

Is it not extraordinary that the Minister can do nothing, even taking into consideration the fact that the students are prepared to pay £10 per head themselves? A document was circulated to Deputies and I am surprised it did not reach the Minister's office.

The Chair has called the next question.

The Minister——

The Chair has called the next question.

Because of the unsatisfactory nature of the Minister's reply I propose to raise the matter on the Adjournment.

The Chair will communicate with the Deputy.