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School Accommodation.

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 3 July 2008

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Questions (12)

Thomas P. Broughan


9 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Education and Science if in respect to his Department’s ongoing survey and analysis of prefab classrooms and resource rooms in the primary school system he will list the ownership of every prefab in use in primary schools including the name and townland of every primary school that has a prefab classroom or resource room, the name of the company, individual or organisation including his Department, renting the prefabs to each primary school and other miscellaneous owners; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26105/08]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Education and Science)

As the Deputy will be aware, my Department has surveyed schools regarding their use of prefabricated accommodation and is in the process of compiling this information. I will write to the Deputy regarding this survey and the information my Department has compiled from it.

My Department has undertaken an assessment of the rental of temporary accommodation with a view to identifying the point at which purchase of such accommodation provides better value for money than rental.

As a result of this assessment, my Department now has a policy of purchasing temporary accommodation where the need for this is likely to last for more than three years. The effect of this change in policy will be to minimise the amount paid on the rental of accommodation.

The Permanent Accommodation Scheme was introduced in 2003 to reduce the need for prefabs. It was designed to give value for money in terms of providing permanent accommodation in place of prefabs, where an accommodation need was likely to exist for a considerable length of time. Since its introduction, over €100m has been allocated to schools under the scheme and it has resulted in the provision of an additional 625 classrooms and 275 resource rooms in schools around the country. This is in addition to those classrooms provided under the major capital projects managed by my Department.

Had the Permanent Accommodation Scheme not been in place, a very significant proportion of those classrooms and resource rooms would have had to be provided using temporary accommodation such as prefabricated classrooms.

Despite this, it will continue to be necessary for prefabricated accommodation to be provided because competing priorities mean that it will not always be possible to have a permanent accommodation solution in place in a short time-frame. My Department will continue to provide funding for such prefabricated accommodation and the decision on whether to rent or purchase will depend on the likely length of time it will be required. In all cases, the approach will be to ensure best value for money.

Question No. 10 answered with Question No. 8.