I wish to advise the Deputy that within the context of a rapidly increasing school population, 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.
Furthermore, it may also be necessary to make use of temporary rented accommodation when an immediate or short term need arises. For example, a school may require a temporary building in circumstances where a major school construction project is planned. Such temporary accommodation is removed when the major project concerned is completed. The length of time it is necessary to make use of temporary rented accommodation will vary from project to project.
I can confirm to the Deputy that there are 471 schools renting interim accommodation, either temporary prefabricated classrooms or an area within an existing permanent building. My Department does not hold a record of schools where such interim accommodation is secured from their own funds.
Where the acquisition of a permanent site by my Department is required, my officials work to secure such a site and confirm its location at the earliest possible date. However, given the challenges that can arise with the sometimes limited availability of suitable sites and the complexities that can arise during the negotiation and conveyancing stages, the timeframes for the acquisition of school sites can vary significantly. Details of those projects which are at site acquisition stage, and indeed all projects on the Building Works Programme, are listed and regularly updated on my Department’s website, www.education.gov.ie. This includes both projects where the school patron is acquiring the site and those where my Department is responsible.
In relation to the patronage of each of the schools in temporary accommodation by county, this information is not readily available. However, I will arrange for this information to be forwarded directly to the Deputy shortly.