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PPPs not the answer to school-building crisis - Doherty

7 July, 2008 - by Pearse Doherty TD

Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson Senator Pearse Doherty has said Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) are not the answer to the school building crisis. Senator Doherty was speaking today after it emerged that Education Minister Batt O'Keeffe is considering using PPPs to build more schools.

He said, "Under PPP schemes, private companies build the schools and maintain them for 25 years in return for fees from the Department of Education. However this method of building schools has in the past been found to be more costly than if the State built the schools themselves. Minister O'Keefe should remember that the Comptroller and Auditor General raised serious concerns regarding the use of PPPs to build schools.

"At a time of economic recession the Minister should not be looking at short term stop gap measures. The bigger picture needs to be looked at.

"If we are to come out of this recession and really build the knowledge based economy that we so often talk about then state investment in education must be forthcoming. If the money is not in the coffers to do this then I would suggest that the State borrows to cover this capital expenditure, which will benefit the economy in the longer term." ENDS

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