To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills if he will provide the funding for additional accommodation to a school (details supplied) in County Limerick; and if she will make a statement on the matter. – Dan Neville.
* For WRITTEN answer on Wednesday, 5th May, 2010.
Reference Number: 17636/10
Tánaiste Mary Coughlan
I can confirm that the school to which the Deputy refers has made an application to my Department for large scale capital funding. The application has been assessed in accordance with the published prioritisation criteria for large scale building projects and assigned a band 2.2 rating, reflecting the fact that the deficit in mainstream accommodation represents a significant proportion of the schools overall needs.
Information in respect of the current school building programme, along with all assessed applications for major capital works, including the project referred to by the Deputy, is now available on my Department’s website at www.education.ie.
The priority attaching to individual projects is determined by published prioritisation criteria, which were formulated following consultation with the Education Partners. There are four band ratings under these criteria, each of which describes the extent of accommodation required and the urgency attaching to it. Band 1 is the highest priority rating and Band 4 is the lowest. Documents explaining the band rating system are also available on my Department’s website.
The Forward Planning Section of my Department has identified 43 priority areas throughout the country where significant additional accommodation will be required at primary and post-primary level in the medium term. Factors considered included population growth, demographic trends, current and projected enrolments, recent and planned housing developments and capacity of existing schools to meet demand for places. The area to which the Deputy refers has not been included on this list.
The progression of all large scale building projects, including this project, from initial design stage through to construction phase will be considered in the context of my Department’s multi-annual School Building and Modernisation Programme. At that point, options to meet the schools needs will be considered further. However, in light of current competing demands on the capital budget of the Department, it is not possible to give an indicative timeframe for the progression of the project at this time.