I would have preferred if the Minister for Education or the Minister of State at the Department of Education had been been available to discuss this matter. However, I am sure the Minister of State, Deputy Stagg, will do an excellent job.
This matter concerns the necessity for the Department of Education to provide funding for a security fence around Bishop Galvin and Bishop Shanahan schools in Templeogue. These are two fine primary schools but every week they are subject to vandalism. Last week five windows were smashed, six windows were smashed the week before and seven windows were smashed during the previous week. The Department of Education has a scheme to deal with this problem. Planning permission has been obtained for the proposed security fence and a formal application was submitted to the Department in January, along with tenders from two construction companies for its erection. Under the scheme the Department will supply 85 per cent of the required funding, with the 15 per cent balance being provided by the school. I strongly urge the Minister to provide finance for the immediate construction of the fence around these two schools.
Unfortunately, there has been a great deal of vandalism in this area. Crime and vandalism in housing estates in Templeogue will have to be addressed as a matter of urgency not just by the Department of Education but also by the Garda Síochána. I have made many representations to the gardaí about this matter and recently had a meeting with them about vandalism in Rossmore Park. The tyres of cars in the area were slashed recently.
This is an important issue. There is no reason the Department should withhold funding for the fence. The schools play a vital role in the local community and I call on the Minister to provide the necessary funding forthwith.