Doherty reveals staggering cost of prefabs in schools across the state
Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson Senator Pearse Doherty has revealed that over €6.5million is being spent annually on prefab accommodation for school children in 74 schools across 18 Counties. Figures released exclusively to Sinn Féin from the Department of Education show that nearly €20million has been spent in these schools over the past number of years on prefab accommodation.
Senator Doherty said, “This is an obscene amount of money for the Government to be wasting on substandard accommodation for our children. This money and other moneys should be invested in permanent quality school buildings. How else are we to build the so called knowledge economy that the Government so often talks about?
“When asked if he will provide a list on a county by county basis the amount per school that has been spent on prefabs over the past five years the Minister responded by saying that the information requested is not readily available and would take an inordinate amount of time to compile.
“However,in the 74 schools throughout 18 Counties which I enquired about 27 schools are paying over €100,000 annually on the rent of prefabs. This includes 10 schools which are paying over €150,000, four schools paying more than €200,000 and one school which is paying just under €250,000 on the rent of prefabs.
“Sixteen schools have paid over €400,000 in rent over a number of years up to December 2008 while three schools have paid over €1,000,000 and one school has paid €1,728,020 so far in rent of prefabs.
“Eleven schools have paid over €100,000 for the purchase of prefabs while one school has paid €409,765 for the purchase of prefabs.
“These figures are an indictment on the record of successive Fianna Fáil led Government who have failed to invest properly in our children’s education even in the years of the economic boom.
“At this time of record unemployment levels Sinn Féin has called on the Government to invest in labour intensive public infrastructure projects to boost employment in the construction sector and to put in place the infrastructure required to sustain our economy in the medium to long term. This should include the fast-tracking of the school building programme to bring about an end to the use of prefab accommodation for our children.
“Our proposals would see all 74 schools that are currently a stage 3 tender stage proceed to construction immediately with a target of 50% of the 86 schools at design stage proceeding to construction by the end of 2009. We would also ensure that a minimum of 150 school building projects enter the architectural and planning stages each year to ensure we meet the projected demand for school places over the coming years.”