Sunday 4 December 2016

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

ine Kerr Political Correspondent

Published 15/10/2010 | 05:00

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.

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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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