Thursday, 23 April 2009
Dáil Eireann Debate
207. Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Education and Science the names of the companies which provide temporary and prefab classrooms to schools in respect of which his Department pays the rent for such accommodation; the amount given to the companies in question in each year over the past three years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16040/09]
Minister for Education and Science (Deputy Batt O’Keeffe): As part of my Department’s current review of prefabricated accommodation, contact is being made with all suppliers of prefabricated accommodation in relation to existing rental contracts. Therefore, I am not in a position to provide information on payments to individual companies, as requested by the Deputy, due to commercial sensitivity. I can say, however, that a total of almost €27m was approved and paid by my Department to schools for rental of pre-fabricated accommodation for the period 1 January 08 to 31 December 08 and that a total of 37 providers were involved.
I should explain that the position generally in relation to rental of prefabricated accommodation in schools is that the Department provides grant-aid towards the provision of temporary school accommodation (not limited to prefabs) to the management authorities of education providers where it is established that a need for such temporary accommodation exists. Such grant-aid is paid at a rate of 95% for schools with permanent recognition and 75% for schools with provisional recognition. Schools are expected to pay a local contribution of the balance, with an annual threshold on the local contribution of €3,175.
The Board of Management of a school is the contracting authority and is responsible for acquiring temporary accommodation. Where approval is given by my Department for the rental of such accommodation, the Board is required to seek at least three tenders and, in compliance with Public Procurement procedures, must usually accept the lowest tender. If, for any reason, the Board wishes to accept a tender that is not the lowest, it must consult with my Department. If, following examination of the tender, the Department is satisfied with these tender details, approval is issued to the school. As the contracting authority in these cases is the school, it has been the practice for temporary accommodation to be procured on an individual school basis.
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