Sunday 25 June 2017

Rental bill for prefab schools adds up to €24m a year

ine Kerr Political Correspondent

THE children of commuters are stuck in costly rented prefab schools in satellite towns where massive population explosions occurred, new figures obtained by the Irish Independent reveal.

Towns outside of Dublin have some of the highest number of rented prefabs, which come with an annual bill of €24m, despite today's cheaper construction costs.

In Kildare, there are 116 prefabs with rental bills of €1.6m, while Meath has 125, at €1.9m.

The bill for schools in Co Louth, the smallest county in the country, has risen from €1.18m to €1.37m in line with the number of prefabs increasing from 78 to 91.

This comes at a time when the Construction Industry Federation (CIF) estimates it can build a permanent classroom for €125,000.

In contrast, a prefab has been costing as much as €106,258 to purchase or around €14,000 per year to rent.

But the Department of Education insists it has managed to slash the bill for renting prefabs from a staggering €53m in 2008 to €24m this year. Compared to 2008, when 266 new prefabs were rented, only 23 new rental contracts were signed in 2010.

But the department is still a long way off replacing rented prefabs with purchased prefabs or new school buildings.

Fine Gael TD Brian Hayes last night claimed every euro spent on a prefab is a "wasted investment opportunity" for getting people back to work and building long-term classrooms.

"This has become a cash cow for about 20 suppliers who are effectively landlords for temporary primary and secondary accommodation," he said.

Irish Independent

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