Crowe welcomes initiative to replace prefabs
Sinn Féin’s Education Spokesperson Seán Crowe TD has welcomed today’s announcement of a €35 million initiative to replace rented prefabs with permanent classrooms in schools.
Deputy Crowe said:
“Today’s announcement of funding to replace rented prefabs in schools is both practical and long overdue.
“Even during the so called boom years, there was a failure to increase funding for the education sector to the OECD average of 6% of GDP. There has been a great deal of wastage resulting from the policy of renting classrooms and it has left a lasting legacy for teachers and pupils alike.
“Prefabs have a limited shelf-live and in many schools across the country temporary classrooms are depilated and need to be replaced.
“It is an issue I have consistently raised with the minister since my election last February and I know people who were taught throughout their time in school in prefabs. Today’s announcement is therefore long over-due and I hope it will provide a much needed boost for almost 200 schools that will be offered grants to build permanent accommodation in the upcoming year.
“This decision must be seen in the light of the budget cuts that have resulted in the suspension of the school’s summer works programmes and a reduction in capitation grants. Without regular maintenance, our school estate will fall into a state of disrepair and will end up costing the exchequer a good deal more money in the long run.
“The decision to provide €35 million will benefit about a third of all schools who currently rent prefabs and it represents a good start in reducing the reliance on rented school classrooms. It should create an estimated 3,250 direct and 650 indirect jobs which are badly needed.
“In Sinn Féin’s pre-budget submission we put forward proposals for a comprehensive school capital build programme that, if implemented, would provide a much needed boost to our education system and the hard pressed construction industry.
“It is essential that we have in place modern, high quality accommodation for pupils as this can make a significant difference when teaching in the classroom.”