Written Answers. - Schools Building Projects.

Thursday, 17 April 1997

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 477 No. 7

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  32.  Mr. Timmins  Information on Godfrey Timmins  Zoom on Godfrey Timmins   asked the Minister for Education  Information on Niamh Bhreathnach  Zoom on Niamh Bhreathnach   if her attention has been drawn to the fact that a major extension is needed for Ballygunner national school, Ballygunner, County Waterford, in view of the extensive building which has taken place in recent years and the fact that there is planning permission for a further 1,500 houses over the next five years. [7332/97]

Minister for Education (Ms Bhreathnach): Information on Niamh Bhreathnach  Zoom on Niamh Bhreathnach  I am aware of the accommodation difficulties at Ballygunner national school, County Waterford, and for this reason I included a major building project at the school in my Department's 1995 capital programme. The plan is to provide a six classroom extension.

In January 1996 the school manager advised my Department that the school wished to phase the project and proceed with two classrooms initially. I immediately sanctioned phase one which is now complete.

The school has recently indicated that it now wishes to proceed with phase two of the project. However, I am not in a position to allow the second phase proceed at present due to financial constraints. The project will be considered in the light of future capital allocations.

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  33.  Mr. Leonard  Information on James Leonard  Zoom on James Leonard   asked the Minister for Education  Information on Niamh Bhreathnach  Zoom on Niamh Bhreathnach   when funding will be made available for the replacement of Knockconan primary school, Emyvale, County Monaghan. [5942/97]

Minister for Education (Ms Bhreathnach): Information on Niamh Bhreathnach  Zoom on Niamh Bhreathnach  The architectural planning for the proposed building project at Knockconan national school is under way and the school authorities were advised recently to prepare detailed drawings in respect of outline plans approved by my Department. The project is being handled by the school's design team.

The next stage is to secure planning permission. When the architectural planning is complete and the contract documentation is prepared, a decision on the timing of the tender process will be taken in the light of available capital resources and existing contractual commitments. At this stage, I am not in a position to state when funding will be made available.

  34.  Ms Keogh  Information on Helen Catherine Anne Keogh  Zoom on Helen Catherine Anne Keogh   asked the Minister for Education  Information on Niamh Bhreathnach  Zoom on Niamh Bhreathnach   if Scoil Mhíchíl Cíosóg, Inis, County Clare, met the criteria for selecting projects set out in the National School Capital Programme publication; if not, the reason therefore; if so, the reason it has been excluded from the 1997 programme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10172/97]

Minister for Education (Ms Bhreathnach): Information on Niamh Bhreathnach  Zoom on Niamh Bhreathnach  I have recently completed a review of the primary capital programme for 1997 and, as a result of this review, I have authorised my Department to proceed with the tender and contract processes for Gaelscoil Mhíchíl Cíosóg. The school meets the criteria for selection.

The reason the school was not included on the earlier list is that there is a backlog of deserving projects resulting from the substantial cuts in the capital funding of primary schools in the 1988-92 period and, with a continuing need to keep a tight control on the public finances, it is not possible to fund all deserving projects simultaneously.

  35.  Mr. M. Brennan  Information on Matt Brennan  Zoom on Matt Brennan   asked the Minister for Education  Information on Niamh Bhreathnach  Zoom on Niamh Bhreathnach   if she will allocate a grant of £30,000 to cover the cost of professional fees in respect of the construction of a science room and two classrooms at St. Mary's College, Ballisodare, County Sligo, the approximate cost of which is £250,000. [10067/97]

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  45.  Mr. O'Malley  Information on Desmond J. O'Malley  Zoom on Desmond J. O'Malley   asked the Minister for Education  Information on Niamh Bhreathnach  Zoom on Niamh Bhreathnach   if she will accede to the request of the board of management of St. Mary's College, Ballisodare, County Sligo, for her Department to pay the £30,000 professional fees element of the cost of the new science room and two classrooms currently under construction; the reason the grants of £75,000 which she has authorised for this project costing £250,000 are not of the normal 85 per cent to 90 per cent subvention level, which seems to be the norm for such projects; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10174/97]

Minister for Education (Ms Bhreathnach): Information on Niamh Bhreathnach  Zoom on Niamh Bhreathnach  I propose to take Questions Nos. 35 and 45 together.

The recommended tender for the project at St Mary's College, Ballisodare, is acceptable and my Department is prepared to provide a grant of £75,000 towards the work.

The funding being provided by my Department for this project is not the usual method of providing grant aid to secondary schools but is the result of an agreement reached with the school some time ago. The background to the project is that my Department was prepared to provide temporary accommodation at the school under the usual terms but the school authorities wished to have the accommodation provided in a permanent structure.

Following discussions between officials from my Department and the school authorities agreement was reached that my Department would provide a once off grant which the school authorities could use to provide a permanent structure. The agreement was conditional on the school authority funding the difference in the cost.

In November, 1996, the Department received written confirmation from the school authorities that the balance of the cost of the project would be met in full by them.


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