European Investment Bank agrees to fund 550 new classrooms across Ireland
THE European Investment Bank today formally agreed to provide €100m to the Irish government for capital investment in schools across Ireland over the next 2 years.
The initiative was launched in Dublin by Ruairí Quinn, TD, Minister for Education and Skills and European Investment Bank President Werner Hoyer.
The programme will build more than 550 new classrooms, and involve modernisation and construction in 35 primary and 12 secondary schools. The 25 year loan from the European Investment Bank, the long-term lending institution of the European Union, will form part of the Irish government’s €219m school expansion programme to be managed by the Department of Education and Skills
Mr Quinns said, "The funding to be provided by the EIB will support the implementation of the five year construction programme which I announced earlier this year. The long-term loan provides a more efficient and cost effective means of funding this programme than would otherwise be possible. It is a very welcome development and is good news for the taxpayer, not to mention pupils and teachers across the nation."
“Without a good education, Europe’s children will not be able to compete in a global economy. This new funding, to provide thousands of new places in Irish schools, will directly benefit children across Ireland and improve the quality of their education. The European Investment Bank is pleased to work closely with the Department of Education and Skills to address the pressing need to increase school capacity in Ireland to match increased pupil numbers.” said European Investment Bank President Werner Hoyer.
The scheme will significantly improve teaching conditions and provide new facilities for an 15,500 primary pupils and 6,650 secondary students.
Increased enrolment capacity is necessary given the baby boom over the last decade and expected need for 70,000 additional school places over the next seven years. The school investment programme will focus on ensuring additional capacity in areas of rapid population growth based on projections by the Department of Education’s Forward Planning Section.
Construction works supported by the initiative started in January and are expected to be completed by December 2014.
The funding has been agreed with the National Treasury Management Agency, NTMA, which acts on behalf of the Irish State as for all Exchequer borrowing. The Department of Education and Skills will managethe construction programme and supervise operation of the schools.
A high-level European Investment Bank is in Dublin for a two day official visit. This includes meetings with the Taoiseach and ministers of Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and Education.