Dáil Éireann - Volume 572 - 21 October, 2003
Written Answers. - Schools Building Projects.
Mr. Perry Mr. Perry
210. Mr. Perry asked the Minister for Education and Science the reason schools classified on list 5 and some schools not listed at all had progressed to construction ahead of schools on list 2 which were of higher priority with regard to the schools building project listed on his Department website; the reason the school building unit did not focus on the schools listed as priorities; if the list now means nothing; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23972/03]
Mr. N. Dempsey Mr. N. Dempsey
Minister for Education and Science (Mr. N. Dempsey): I presume the Deputy is referring to the 2002 school building programme.
In April 2002, my predecessor published on the Department's website a list of school building projects which were to be progressed as part of the 2002 school building programme. One of the crucial aspects of managing a multi-million euro annual capital programme is the  timing of allowing projects to proceed to tender and construction. Some projects were scheduled to proceed to tender and construction in early 2002 and others were scheduled for later in the year.
For projects to proceed to construction in 2002 the architectural planning stages would have needed to be very advanced. The projects shown in lists 3, 4, and 5 of the draft programme were “ready for tender”, “would be ready for tender” and “expected to be ready for tender” respectively in 2002, and accordingly were at an advanced stage. Some of the projects included in list 2 of the draft programme did not progress through the final stages of architectural planning as quickly as was anticipated, and therefore could not proceed to construction at that time.
It became clear in late 2002 that the funding allocation for 2003 might be less than anticipated. On this basis, it was prudent therefore not to proceed in late 2002 with all projects intended to go to tender and construction and to defer consideration of these projects until funding for 2003 was certain. Ultimately, the level of funding available was the critical limiting factor for progressing all projects.
The 2003 school building programme detailed the criteria being used now for large scale building projects at both primary and post-primary level. This initiative, to publish the factors which are taken into account when determining band ratings for projects, was designed to reassure all interested parties that the projects are selected on the basis of objective criteria and has been broadly welcomed by the education partners.
Dáil Éireann 572 Written Answers. Schools Building Projects.