Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Questions (224)

Ciaran Lynch


224. Deputy Ciarán Lynch asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans for the provision of long-term funding for the Life Centre in Cork and elsewhere; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15316/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

My Department currently provides support to two Life Centres, Pearse Street in Dublin and Winters Hill in Cork. The current provision includes 2,768 teaching hours, provided under the Co-operation Hours scheme operated by the local ETBs. This is equivalent to four full-time teachers. These hours allow the ETBs to employ tutors to work in the Centres and to deliver tuition in CSPE, Reading, Literacy, Arts and Crafts, Woodwork and Home Economics. In addition a grant of €114,000 per annum is also made to the Centres to help meet the day to day running costs. My Department also provides significant additional targeted resources for the purpose of combating educational disadvantage and early school leaving and to provide assistance to young people at risk. The various educational initiatives funded include intensive literacy programmes, out-of-school, after school and holiday time supports as well as special needs supports for students in schools. It should be noted that there has been a substantial expansion of these initiatives since the establishment of the Life Centres in 1996, by the Christian Brothers. The difficult situation the Life Centres find themselves in arises from the withdrawal of direct funding by the Christian Brothers. The major budgetary pressures within my Department place significant constraints on its capacity to support existing programmes and, consequently, given the significant range of educational disadvantage interventions already supported by my Department, requests for increased funding for the Cork Life Centre simply cannot be considered.