Dáil Éireann - Volume 542 - 24 October, 2001

Written Answers. - Schools Building Projects.

273. Mr. Roche asked the Minister for Education and Science when his Department will give the necessary permission to Gaelscoil Chill Mhantáin to purchase a site for its school development proposals and to progress to the design and building of the new school. [25446/01]

Minister for Education and Science (Dr. Woods): My Department's legal representatives, the Chief State Solicitor's Office, are currently in negotiations with the vendor's legal representatives in relation to the purchase of a site for Gaelscoil Chill Mhantáin. The school authorities will be informed of developments.

Decisions relating to the rate of progress to construction of projects, including Gaelscoil Chill Mhantáin, will be taken in the light of the allocations to be made for school building purposes in the forthcoming Estimates.

274. Mr. Creed asked the Minister for Education and Science if he has issued any instructions regarding the school building capital programme; if primary and secondary school building projects are being deliberately delayed; the priority which is being attached to capital projects in the special education area; if he will give a detailed breakdown on a county by county basis of all the projects, primary, post primary and special education, which the school building unit is dealing with; and the stage each project is at. [25449/01]

Minister for Education and Science (Dr. Woods): Since taking office, the Government has made very substantial capital investment in the education sector. Over £200 million (254 million) was allocated for primary and post primary school capital projects in the year 2000. This was increased to over £220 million (279 million) in 2001. The equivalent figure in 1993 was £46.5 million (59 million) and in 1997, £72.3 million (93.2 million).

My Department will continue to assess projects for funding having regard to priority issues such as the need for schools in rapidly developing areas, the accommodation requirements of children with special needs, the provision of accommodation to facilitate amalgamations, the need to upgrade the existing stock of schools and the stage of architectural planning a project has reached.

The rate of progress to construction depends on factors such as the complexity and size of the project, the time required to undertake architectural planning, the volume of other projects being [1730] dealt with by design teams and my Department's building unit, the period of time required for the granting of planning permission and obtaining a fire certificate, the outcome of the tender competition and the procurement, where relevant, of bonds, insurance and tax clearance by prospective contractors.

Decisions relating to the rate of progress to construction of projects in 2002 will be taken in the light of the foregoing and the allocations to be made for school building purposes in the forthcoming estimates. The specific information on all building projects on a county by county basis and the stage each project is at is not readily available in my Department and would require an inordinate amount of official time to compile. If the Deputy has any queries regarding specific projects I will be happy to obtain the information for him.