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Written Answers - Schools Building Programme

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 762 No. 1

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 32.  Deputy Martin Ferris Information on Martin Ferris Zoom on Martin Ferris  asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  if he will list, on a yearly basis, the schools that were included on the construction programme during the past five years; the schools that have been withdrawn, removed and deprioritised from the current construction programme; if he will provide a breakdown on a school by school basis of the criteria and reasoning behind the decision to remove individual schools form the construction programme. [19501/12]

 41.  Deputy Martin Ferris Information on Martin Ferris Zoom on Martin Ferris  asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  the criteria used to include, withdraw or exclude a school from the school construction programme. [19500/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn I propose to take Questions Nos. 32 and 41 together.

I wish to advise the Deputy that the Five Year Plan prioritises new school building projects, including the new primary and post primary schools that I announced in June 2011, as well as major extensions in areas where a demographic need has been established. The Deputy will be aware of the demographic challenges that we are facing. Total enrolment in both primary and post-primary schools is expected to grow by almost 70,000 between now and 2018 and will continue to grow up to at least 2024 at post-primary level. The Deputy will therefore appreciate that the primary aim at the core of the Five Year Plan, that I announced on 12 March last, is to ensure that every child will have access to a physical school place and that our school system is in a position to cope with increasing pupil numbers.

The progression of school projects to construction, as set out in the Five Year Plan, to meet future demographic demand is the main focus of the Plan. In view of the funding constraints, it is not possible to progress all projects within my Department’s building programme concurrently. Accordingly, it was necessary to prioritise school building projects already progressing within architectural planning in the context of the Plan, taking into account factors such as the funding available and the progression of other major projects required to meet demographic needs. School building projects have not been withdrawn from the school building programme. In relation to school projects that are currently within the Department’s architectural planning process but have not been included in the Five Year Plan, such projects will continue to be progressed through the various architectural planning stages up to tender stage. However, I [150]am not in position to provide an indicative timeline for the progression of those projects to construction stage at this time.

The Deputy will appreciate that the announcement of the Five Year Plan represents a major change in how the school building programme is publicised. The Plan, for the first time, gives details of the schools that will progress to construction over the duration of the Plan. Those schools included in the Plan, many of which were included in previous announcements, now know when their project is likely to commence construction and they can make plans based on these timelines. Details of previous capital project announcements together with details of projects listed in the Five Year Plan may be viewed on my Department’s website at www.education.ie and this is updated regularly.

Question No. 33 answered with Question No. 29.


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