Dáil Éireann - Volume 585 - 18 May, 2004

Written Answers. - Schools Building Projects.

  90. Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Science his plans to provide extra resources to fund the schools building programme with particular reference to the need to alleviate overcrowding in classrooms, the replacement of inefficient or non-existent facilities and with a view to meeting the basic health and safety requirements; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14315/04]

  Mr. N. Dempsey:Since 1998 almost €2 billion has been invested in the school building programme at both primary and post-primary levels, the largest investment programme in the history of the State. This year’s school building programme at €388 million is the largest in the history of the State. It will deliver more than 260 significant school building projects at primary and post-primary level. Some 209 of these projects are new starts in the current year, the balance have been carried forward from previous years. In addition, more than 570 schools will benefit in some way from the capital programme and all primary schools will benefit directly from the devolved grants scheme for minor works.

This level of investment will need to be maintained if the goal of eliminating sub-standard accommodation is to be achieved. The Government remains committed to continuing the work it has started and to consolidating the [1241] substantial progress already made in order to ensure that the needs of schools throughout the country are met over time.

The introduction, for the first time, of multi-annual funding will enable my Department to continue to address schools modernisation needs in a planned and coherent manner. All projects not going to construction as part of the 2004 school building programme are being reviewed with a view to including them as part of a multi-annual building programme from 2005 onwards. I expect to be in a position to make a further announcement on this matter during 2004.

Question No. 91 answered with Question No. 49.