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Schools Building Programme - Sinn Fein voice concern at over dependence on PPP

27 April, 2004

Sinn Fein Education Spokesperson, Newry Armagh MLA Davy Hyland has welcomed the announcement of investment in the schools estate but expressed concern that the majority of the programme particularly for secondary schools is dependent on Public Private Partnerships.

Mr Hyland said:

"There is still a considerable way to go in order to deliver the schools that our children deserve. This announcement builds upon the foundation laid by Martin McGuinness.

"Of the £222 million announced today the reality is that only £107 million is currently in place under conventional building plans. The bulk of the money announced today is for the building of new schools, mainly secondary schools, through the use of Public Private Partnerships.

"While using private money may seem an easy way to get quick investment, the costs both in terms of long-term payments and the standards delivered may be considerable.

"Sinn Fein share widespread concerns about the pay and conditions of ancillary school staff. There are also dangers that profits are put before important issues such as community access to schools. In the past these issues have been properly recognised. It is crucial that they are not lost in the bid to secure greater private investment." ENDS

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