Teacher Training Provision

Question No. 318 answered with Question No. 315.

Questions (317)

Thomas Byrne

Question:

317. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the inspection requirements of teachers concerning individual education plans. [13150/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

In 2017, the Department published Guidelines for primary and post-primary schools to support their work in meeting the needs of children with special educational needs. These Guidelines emphasise the importance of educational planning. This is in the context of ensuring that the children with the greatest level of need receive the greatest level of support. The level of support required by a student will depend on the needs identified. To this end, supports may be provided for all students, for some students or for a few students. Tools such as the Student Support File, developed by the National educational Psychological Service (NEPS), are intended to equip schools to undertake such work.

At the level of the individual student, the plan which is put in place should be developed through a collaborative process involving relevant teachers, parents/guardians, the pupils themselves and external professionals, as necessary. The plan should include clear, measurable learning targets relating to priority learning needs, and specify the resources and interventions that will be used to address student needs in line with the Continuum of Support process. While class and subject teachers in primary and in post-primary schools retain overall responsibility for the provision of education to their students, in most instances special education teachers will lead and develop the student’s support plan. As outlined in the Guidelines for schools, by using the Student Support File and the Continuum of Support process effectively, special education teachers can be confident that the priorities they have identified for the students are appropriate to the needs and most likely to advance learning. The planning process for students should include regular reviews of learning targets as part of an ongoing cycle of assessment, target setting, intervention and review.

The Looking at our School 2016 quality framework, which is used to inform the work of inspectors as they monitor and report on quality in schools makes clear that inspectors review the quality of both teachers’ preparation and planning for teaching, and their teaching practice in light of the published Guidelines. The extent to which inspectors focus on plans for students varies depending on the focus of the inspection model in use in any inspection. For example, in conducting specialised evaluations of provision for children with special educational needs at either primary or post-primary levels, inspectors will have regard to, inter alia, the manner in which teachers’ plans, either for individuals or groups as appropriate, identify clear, relevant learning objectives that are contextualised to pupils’ learning needs and the extent to which those plans facilitate appropriate provision for the learners concerned.

Question No. 318 answered with Question No. 315.

Teacher Training Provision

Questions (319)

Thomas Byrne

Question:

319. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills if it is a requirement of teacher training colleges that education relating to individual education plans be provided to trainee teachers. [13152/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

Under the Education Act 1998, schools are under statutory obligation to “provide education to students which is appropriate to their abilities and needs” and to “ensure that the educational needs of all students, including those with a disability or other special educational needs, are identified and provided for”.

Planning is a normal part of a teacher’s work and planning tools, like the student support file, have been created as a resource to help schools provide for their students.

Circulars 0013 and 0014 2017, which introduced the model for allocating special education teachers to schools, noted the importance of educational planning. This is in the context of ensuring that the children with the greatest level of need receive the greatest level of support.

The Circulars note that educational planning is an essential element of a whole-school approach to meeting pupils’ needs.

Guidelines for schools on educational planning and monitoring of outcomes through the Student Support File, are contained in the Guidelines for Primary and Post primary Schools: Supporting Children and Young People with Special Educational Needs in Mainstream Schools.

All schools are therefore encouraged to use Education Plans or Student Support plans for children who are receiving additional teaching or care in schools.

Whereas there is not currently a statutory requirement for schools to provide a particular form of Individual Education Plan, it is evident that the majority of schools do use some form of education planning to plan and record the support that they provide for pupils with special educational needs. This is considered to be both beneficial for schools and children and is regarded as best practice.

The ongoing provision of planning will represent a continuation of the good practice that is occurring in the majority of schools.

The Teaching Council is the statutory body with responsibility for professional standards and regulation of the teaching profession. Under Section 38 of the Teaching Council Act, all initial teacher education programmes are subject to review and accreditation by the Teaching Council, in accordance with the Criteria and Guidelines for Programme Providers (published in 2011 and revised in March 2017). In accordance with these Criteria and Guidelines, inclusive education is a mandatory component for all students in ITE.

The learning outcomes of ITE programmes also reflect the need for the teacher to be able to conduct a systematic, holistic assessment of learner needs; to apply knowledge of the individual potential of students, their disposition towards learning and their backgrounds, identities and learning styles to their teaching; to set clear, challenging and achievable expectations for pupils; to evaluate learner progress; to act as an advocate for students, referring students for educational support as required and participating in the provision of that support, amongst other relevant outcomes.

The Teaching Council is currently carrying out a review of the impact of the current programmes, with a view to amending the Criteria and Guidelines before the next round of accreditation commences in 2020.

A recently published report from the National Council for Special Education on Initial Teacher Education for Inclusion: Phase 1 and 2 (NCSE Research Report No. 26), found that there is in general much good practice related to inclusive education in ITE, particularly in relation to the fostering of positive attitudes to inclusion, while also noting that there is scope for further alignment between theory and practice, in particular between student placement and the university experience. These findings will be considered by the Teaching Council in the course of its work.

Teachers' Remuneration

Questions (320)

Thomas Byrne

Question:

320. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the amount of the allocation to the Higher Education Authority that will cover pay restoration in 2019; and the amount same is projected to cost in 2020. [13153/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

In Budget 2019 my Department secured additional funding of €21.109m to meet the pay restoration costs for the third level sector in 2019. An additional €57m in current funding was also secured by my Department in Budget 2019 to build on the process of reinvestment in higher education in recent years. Overall higher education spending has increased by 17% compared to 2016 to a projected €1.76 billion in 2019.

My Department will be working in co-operation with the Department of Expenditure and Reform, via the Estimates process, to provide for pay restoration costs for the sector in 2020.

School Staff

Questions (321)

Thomas Byrne

Question:

321. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to ensure all schools have more than one adult working in the school. [13154/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

My Department has been in contact with one teacher schools to help identify where there are any gaps in having a second adult present during the school day.

Arrangements are been put in place to increase funding to those schools where a gap has been identified.

Additional funding will support one teacher schools to ensure that there is a second adult present for all of the school day.

Schools Building Projects Status

Questions (322)

Clare Daly

Question:

322. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Education and Skills when a school (details supplied) will be moved to a more central and accessible location. [13156/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

As the Deputy is aware, with the assistance of officials in Fingal County Council, agreement in principle has been reached with the landowner in respect to the acquisition of a permanent site at Broomfield, Malahide to accommodate the school to which she refers.

The project to deliver the permanent accommodation for this school at this location is on my Department's Design and Build Programme and is currently at architectural planning stage.

School Patronage

Questions (323, 324, 325)

Clare Daly

Question:

323. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Education and Skills if a school (details supplied) will be divested by September 2019; and if not, if it will be possible to move a student to another local school that has been divested. [13157/19]

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Clare Daly

Question:

324. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Education and Skills if one of the local schools in Malahide, County Dublin, will be divested regardless of the parental votes; if not, if a school will only be divested if parents and staff agree to same; and the outcome if parents from each school vote to remain with their Catholic patron. [13158/19]

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Clare Daly

Question:

325. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Education and Skills if a school is divested, the patron body (details supplied) most likely to be awarded the contract. [13159/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 323 to 325, inclusive, together.

The Programme for Government includes a commitment of reaching 400 multi-/non-denominational schools in Ireland by the year 2030. The Schools Reconfiguration for Diversity Process is aimed at assisting in achieving this target by transferring existing schools from denominational to multi-/non-denominational patronage in line with the wishes of the school community.

Transfer of patronage and consultation with school communities on reconfiguration is a matter for the current patron in the first instance. Any concerns or views that parents have should be discussed with the school patron.

The Reconfiguration process is composed of two separate and distinct phases - the Identification Phase and the subsequent Implementation Phase.

In the Identification Phase, each of the country’s 16 Education and Training Boards (ETBs) have selected an initial pilot area within their district where surveys of parents of pre-school children have been carried out by the relevant City/County Childcare Committee on behalf of the ETBs. ETBs then draw up comprehensive reports detailing the outcomes of the surveys in relation to each of the 16 pilot areas. This forms the basis of discussions with the most prevalent patron/landowner in the area, which is the Catholic Bishop or Archbishop in most cases, concerning the transfer of patronage of an existing school(s) to meet that demand.

The first Identification Phase of the pilot process is nearing completion for 16 initial areas nationwide, including the Malahide & Portmarnock area. It is envisaged that the Identification Phase reports from the initial areas will be published in the first half of this year.

Following the completion of the Identification Phase, it is intended that the Schools Reconfiguration for Diversity process will move into the Implementation Phase, which would involve the existing patron of the majority of schools in each area, i.e., the relevant Catholic Archbishop or Bishop, consulting with their local school communities on accommodating the oncoming demand for a greater diversity of patronage among the schools in their area.

The transfer to a new patron should reflect the wishes of parents and the school community. The Department envisages that such consultation would include an outline of contingencies that may be put in place for parents who wish for their children to retain the current ethos of the school, having regard to local circumstances.

The Implementation Phase would also provide an opportunity for potential multi-denominational and non-denominational patrons to engage in a consultative process with the existing school community, affording the best possible opportunity for patron bodies themselves to inform parents as to the unique characteristics of their schools. This may include a meeting where prospective patrons could provide information to the school community.

The Implementation Phase of the process has yet to formally commence. Draft protocols for the Implementation Phase are at an advanced stage of development and consultation with Catholic Church representatives is ongoing.

In relation to the specific school referenced by the Deputy, the existing school patron, the Dublin Archbishop, would lead the Implementation Phase of the process.

I understand that the Dublin Archdiocese representatives are in the process of holding meetings with a number of primary schools under their patronage in this area to provide information to them on the process rather than as part of the formal Implementation Phase of the Schools Reconfiguration process.

It is also possible for any school community to directly engage their current patron, outside of the main reconfiguration process, and to seek a transfer of patronage to a multi-denominational patron, fast-tracking the patronage reassignment. Already the first 'early mover' reconfiguration has successfully taken place, with Two-Mile Community National School in Kerry opening in September 2017. I encourage any school which is seeking a transfer of patronage under the “Early Movers” provision to contact their school patron directly.

Special Educational Needs Staff

Questions (326)

Kathleen Funchion

Question:

326. Deputy Kathleen Funchion asked the Minister for Education and Skills if a child who is in receipt of SNA assistance in a particular school and moves from that school to another location or school during the same school year is no longer entitled to a SNA in the new school and must wait until the beginning of September in the following school year in order to avail of a SNA once again; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13161/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) is responsible for allocating a quantum of Special Needs Assistant (SNA) support for each school annually taking into account the assessed care needs of children qualifying for SNA support enrolled in the school.

The NCSE allocates SNA support to schools in accordance with the criteria set out in Department Circular 0030/2014, which is available on my Department's website at www.education.ie, in order that students who have care needs can access SNA support as and when it is needed.

In considering applications for SNA support for individual pupils, the NCSE take account of the pupils' needs and consider the resources available to the school to identify whether additionality is needed or whether the school might reasonably be expected to meet the needs of the pupils from its current level of resources.

SNAs are not allocated to individual children but to schools as a school based resource.

Where a school has received its allocation of SNA support but wishes new enrolments or assessments to be considered, which were not taken into account when the initial allocation was made, they may continue to make applications to the NCSE.

Special Educational Needs Staff

Questions (327)

Kathleen Funchion

Question:

327. Deputy Kathleen Funchion asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reason a person (details supplied) has been denied an SNA in view of the fact the child is entitled to an SNA based on particular needs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13162/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) is responsible for allocating a quantum of Special Needs Assistant (SNA) support for each school annually taking into account the assessed care needs of children qualifying for SNA support enrolled in the school.

The NCSE allocates SNA support to schools in accordance with the criteria set out in Department Circular 0030/2014, which is available on my Department's website at www.education.ie , in order that students who have care needs can access SNA support as and when it is needed.

In considering applications for SNA support for individual pupils, the NCSE take account of the pupils' needs and consider the resources available to the school to identify whether additionality is needed or whether the school might reasonably be expected to meet the needs of the pupils from its current level of resources.

SNAs are not allocated to individual children but to schools as a school based resource.

As this question relates to a particular child, I have referred the question to the NCSE for their direct reply. I do not have a role in making determinations in individual cases.

Special Educational Needs Service Provision

Questions (328)

Kathleen Funchion

Question:

328. Deputy Kathleen Funchion asked the Minister for Education and Skills the funding primary and post-primary schools receive from the initial point of opening the ASD class and throughout the operation of an ASD class within each school; if there is an amount received by the school for the operation of that class on a monthly or annual basis; and if the funding is received by the school directly from his Department or via the NCSE. [13163/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

Individual school boards of management are responsible for the establishment of special classes. It is open to any school to make application to the National Council for Special Education to establish such a class. The Council through its national network of Special Needs Organisers (SENOs) is responsible for planning and coordinating education provision for children with special educational needs including granting approval for the establishment and resourcing of special classes.

Special classes for students with ASD are staffed with a lower pupil–teacher ratio of 6:1 at primary level and 6:1.5 at post primary level, and also have a minimum of two SNAs for every class of 6 children.

My Department issues current and capital funding directly to management authorities of schools.

When the NCSE sanction a special class in a school, the school can apply to my Department for capital funding to re-configure existing spaces within the school building to accommodate the class and/or to construct additional accommodation. There are standard arrangements in place for the funding, design and delivery of these projects.

Other resources which are provided to schools to support children with Special Educational Needs including Autism include the following:

- Professional development for teachers.

- The National Educational Psychological Service

- Assistive technology.

- Access to the Special School transport scheme.

- Access to special equipment and furniture where required.

- Enhanced capitation grants at primary level

- Adapted school buildings/Additional accommodation

- ICT Grant for new classes

- Start Up grant for new classes

- Access to the extended school year scheme. (July Provision)

The NCSE has published guidelines for schools on setting up and organising Special Classes, which are available to download from www.ncse.ie . The guidelines include information on resources which may be provided to schools with special classes and links to information on the how funding is allocated.

Schools Building Projects Status

Questions (329, 350)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Question:

329. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of a major building project for a school (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13208/19]

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Seán Sherlock

Question:

350. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of the commencement of a new school (details supplied) in County Kildare; when the school will commence; and if all issues regarding ownership of the site have now been finalised. [13457/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 329 and 350 together.

The major building project for this school is at an advanced stage of architectural planning, Stage 2b – Detailed Design, which includes the applications for Planning Permission, Fire Cert and Disability Access Cert and the preparation of tender documents. All statutory approvals have been obtained.

Following a legal challenge to the pre-qualification process for the main contract from one unsuccessful contractor a new invitation to pre-qualify will issue shortly on the e-tenders platform.

When the pre-qualification process for the main contract and reserved specialists contracts is complete, the project will then be progressed to tender stage.

Regarding the site acquisition, legal representatives for both parties are working together with a view to concluding the conveyancing. There continues to be progress on foot of close and intense engagement from all parties. All parties continue the work to ensure the acquisition completes at the earliest possible date and at this point it is not anticipated that the completion of conveyancing will impact on the timelines for delivery of the building project.

Schools Building Projects Status

Questions (330)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Question:

330. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans for the proposed extension of a school (details supplied); the status of the project; the timeline for completion of the works; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13211/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

The project referred to by the Deputy has been devolved for delivery to the National Development Finance Agency (NDFA).

I can inform the Deputy that the NDFA has started preparations for the appointment of a design team for the project. This appointment will be a key first step in the design and construction stages. While at this early stage it is not possible to provide a timeline for completion of the project, the NDFA will be engaging directly with the school authority to keep it informed of progress.

Schools Building Projects Status

Questions (331)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Question:

331. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans for the proposed extension of a school (details supplied); the status of the project; the timeline for completion of the works; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13212/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

The process of Pre-Qualification of contractors for the project in question is underway. The Pre-qualification process culminates in the compilation of shortlists of suitable candidates for each respective discipline.

The draft pre-qualification report was submitted to my Department for review in January 2019. The Department has issued comments to be actioned by the Design Team with regard to finalising the process. An updated report is awaited.

When this review is complete the project will then be progressed to tender stage which normally takes between 7 and 8 months to complete.

School Enrolments

Questions (332)

Brendan Howlin

Question:

332. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to address the issue of oversubscription at a school (details supplied) for the 2019 school year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13222/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

In order to plan for school provision and analyse the relevant demographic data, my Department divides the country into 314 school planning areas and uses a Geographical Information System, using data from a range of sources, to identify where the pressure for school places across the country will arise. With this information, my Department carries out nationwide demographic exercises to determine where additional school accommodation is needed at primary and post-primary level.

Major new residential developments in a school planning area have the potential to alter demand in that area. In that regard, as part of the demographic exercises, my Department engages with each of the local authorities to obtain the up-to-date data on significant new residential development in each area. This is necessary to ensure that schools infrastructure planning is keeping pace with demographic changes as there is a constantly evolving picture with planned new residential development, including additional residential developments arising from the Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund (LIHAF).

Where data indicates that additional provision is required, the delivery of such additional provision is dependent on the particular circumstances of each case and may, depending on the circumstances, be provided through either one, or a combination of, the following:

- Utilising existing unused capacity within a school or schools,

- Extending the capacity of a school or schools,

- Provision of a new school or schools.

As the Deputy may be aware, the Government recently announced plans for the establishment of 42 new schools over the next four years (2019 to 2022). This announcement follows nationwide demographic exercises carried out by my Department into the future need for primary and post-primary schools across the country and the 4-year horizon will enable increased lead-in times for planning and delivery of the necessary infrastructure.

In addition to the new schools announced, there will be a need for further school accommodation in other areas in the future through either planned capacity increases in existing schools or additional accommodation or extensions to existing schools.

As the Deputy will be aware, a new 1,000 pupil post primary school was established in 2011 in Gorey and moved into its permanent accommodation in 2014 and the school has capacity to meet demand in the area.

While the announcement did not include a new post primary school for the Gorey school planning area, the requirement for new schools will be kept under on-going review and in particular will have regard for the increased rollout of housing provision as outlined in Project Ireland 2040.

School Enrolments

Questions (333)

Brendan Howlin

Question:

333. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to address the issue of oversubscription at a school (details supplied) for the 2019 school year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13224/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

In order to plan for school provision and analyse the relevant demographic data, my Department divides the country into 314 school planning areas and uses a Geographical Information System, using data from a range of sources, to identify where the pressure for school places across the country will arise. With this information, my Department carries out nationwide demographic exercises to determine where additional school accommodation is needed at primary and post-primary level.

Major new residential developments in a school planning area have the potential to alter demand in that area. In that regard, as part of the demographic exercises, my Department engages with each of the local authorities to obtain the up-to-date data on significant new residential development in each area. This is necessary to ensure that schools infrastructure planning is keeping pace with demographic changes as there is a constantly evolving picture with planned new residential development, including additional residential developments arising from the Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund (LIHAF).

Where data indicates that additional provision is required, the delivery of such additional provision is dependent on the particular circumstances of each case and may, depending on the circumstances, be provided through either one, or a combination of, the following:

- Utilising existing unused capacity within a school or schools,

- Extending the capacity of a school or schools,

- Provision of a new school or schools.

As the Deputy may be aware, the Government recently announced plans for the establishment of 42 new schools over the next four years (2019 to 2022). This announcement follows nationwide demographic exercises carried out by my Department into the future need for primary and post-primary schools across the country and the 4-year horizon will enable increased lead-in times for planning and delivery of the necessary infrastructure.

In addition to the new schools announced, there will be a need for further school accommodation in other areas in the future through either planned capacity increases in existing schools or additional accommodation or extensions to existing schools.

As the Deputy will be aware, a new 1,000 pupil post primary school was established in 2011 in Gorey and moved into its permanent accommodation in 2014 and the school has capacity to meet demand in the area.

While the announcement did not include a new post primary school for the Gorey school planning area, the requirement for new schools will be kept under on-going review and in particular will have regard for the increased rollout of housing provision as outlined in Project Ireland 2040.

Departmental Funding

Questions (334)

Joan Burton

Question:

334. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to provide funding to ensure the continuation of services by an organisation (details supplied) in view of the fact that funding has previously been allocated for the work and projects of the organisation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13256/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

The national further education authority SOLAS, provided funding to the Irish Deaf Society in 2018 for the provision of literacy courses for the deaf community through Irish Sign Language. €241k was allocated in 2018 to achieve the following:

- Provide QQI certified, Continuing Professional Development and personal development training interventions and workshops for approx. 400 learners who are members of the Deaf community.

- Support 60 learners to achieve QQI certification at Levels 2 to 5 on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ).

I understand the Irish Deaf Society have applied for funding to provide this service in 2019, and the application is currently being considered by SOLAS.

Education Policy

Questions (335)

Eamon Ryan

Question:

335. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to have an education promotion mission to India later in 2019. [13262/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

Enterprise Ireland, through the education in Ireland brand, lead on promoting the Irish Education Sector in core and high potential markets, on behalf of my department.

As India is one of our core markets for education promotion, Enterprise Ireland will arrange an education mission to India in the latter half of this year and planning for this mission will commence shortly.

Schools Building Projects Data

Questions (336)

Thomas Byrne

Question:

336. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of times his Department has had to retender building projects to date in 2019; the projects affected; the location of those projects; the stated reason for the retendering; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13266/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

I can inform the Deputy that, to date, the Department itself has not retendered any major building projects.

However, I can also inform the Deputy that my Department is aware that there are a number of major building projects which have been devolved for delivery to ETBs which are either in the process of being retendered or are expected to be retendered later this year. These include the Maynooth Campus Project and projects in Midleton (St. Colman's College) and Fermoy (Coláiste an Chraoibhín) which were affected by the liquidation of Sammon Contracting Ireland Ltd. (SCIL). The Ratoath Community College project is also being retendered as a result of the examinership of the original contractor, Manley Construction.

Tender reports have been received by the Department in respect of the Fermoy and Ratoath projects and these are being reviewed at present. Tender documents are expected to issue in respect of the Maynooth project shortly. The Midleton project is expected to be retendered later this year.