Thursday, 7 March 2013

Questions (89)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

89. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the extent to which he expects to be in a position to meet requirements of the school building programme as set out by the various school management authorities at primary and second level throughout the country; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12188/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I wish to advise the Deputy that my priority is to ensure that there is sufficient school accommodation to meet projected pupil enrolment increases into the future. The 5 Year Plan that I announced in March 2012, together with my recent announcement of the 50 school projects which are scheduled for construction in the current year as part of a €2 billion capital investment programme, outlines the major school projects that will commence construction over the duration of the Plan. This information is available on my Department's website www.education.ie.

In addition, my Department will consider applications by schools for funding for additional classrooms, which schools may provide on a permanent basis, where an immediate enrolment need is arising. Under the Rental Prefab Replacement Initiative announced in 2012, almost 200 schools have been offered grants to build permanent accommodation – over a third of all schools who currently rent prefabs. Over €40 million has been allocated for this initiative. Given the current financial constraints within which my Department is operating, the position is that priority is being given to school applications for essential mainstream classroom accommodation. In this regard, the delivery of new schools, together with extension projects to meet the demographic demand, will be the main focus for capital investment in schools in the coming years.