Thursday, 17 October 2019

Questions (39)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

39. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Education and Skills the impact the cut to the education capital budget will have in view of the 471 schools that are in temporary buildings and numerous other schools promised; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42588/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The allocation for my Department's School Buildings programme in 2020 is broadly in line with the allocation for 2019.  In 2019 the allocation was €622m. The allocation envisaged for 2020 is €620m. This €2m reduction will have no material impact on the school building programme.

The Department’s capital budget for 2020 should be considered in the context of an increase of over 26% between 2018 and 2019 (€745m in 2018 rising to €941m in 2019). Also, the value achieved from the disposal by TU Dublin of its Kevin Street property, the sale of which closed in August, means that the Department no longer needs to set aside a significant funding envelope for the Grangegorman development in 2020.  The Kevin Street property sold for €140m which was about €60m above the guide price. This reduces pressure on the Department’s capital budget in 2020.

The allocation for schools will support circa 60 new school building projects going to construction in 2020 delivering in excess of 30,000 school places (permanent additional and replacement places). 

During 2018 and 2019, the capital budget is facilitating extensions and new schools being delivered as part of the rollout of Project Ireland 2040 which involved overall construction activity during 2018 and 2019 of circa 130 large scale projects ranging in value from €1m to projects in excess of €20m.  There was also in excess of 280 projects with a project value less than €1m at construction during this period.  All of these projects are expected to deliver more than 40,000 permanent (additional and replacement) school places and replace circa 600 prefabs.  This will make significant progress in relation to providing modern energy efficient school facilities and the replacement of temporary accommodation. 

My Department's priority is to ensure that every child will have access to a physical school place.  In this regard, it is sometimes necessary to make use of temporary accommodation in order to meet the accommodation needs of schools.  My Department takes an integrated approach with the replacement of temporary accommodation as part of large-scale projects or as part of new projects approved under my Department’s Additional School Accommodation Scheme.