Nineteen school builds due to begin in 2015 still not 'shovel ready'
Nineteen school buildings earmarked for construction in 2015 are still not 'shovel ready', the Irish Independent can reveal.
The projects in seven different counties were announced in December 2014, with the then education minister saying the developments were needed to replace inadequate educational infrastructure and to cater for demographic changes.
However, in some instances a site hasn't even been selected yet, while others are at a very early stage.
The three extensions and 16 new builds were included in a list of 70 projects. Almost two years later, just 26 have been completed.
Among the delayed projects are six new schools in Cork, five in Dublin, two in Wexford and one each in Westmeath, Galway and Longford.
Extensions to schools in Clare, Dublin and Galway have also been delayed.
Fianna Fáil's education spokesman Thomas Byrne said the projects were announced with "much fanfare" by former education minister Jan O'Sullivan under the oversight of the Fine Gael/Labour coalition.
However, he said it will still be "years before they are actually up and running".
The Meath East TD criticised Ms O'Sullivan's successor, Education Minister Richard Bruton, saying the lack of progress was "inexcusable".
"Students are suffering due to the delay in progressing these projects. Many students are being taught in overcrowded classrooms, which is having a detrimental impact on their education," he told the Irish Independent.
"Teachers are also being forced to rely on substandard resources due to a lack of space, especially in cases where temporary accommodation is in use for years on end."
A spokesman for Minister Bruton said the Government was "building more schools and providing more additional school places than ever before".
He said the department intends to complete all the school projects announced in 2014 - but admitted some have hit significant problems.
"In the case of school projects announced from within the multi-annual programme from 2015, 64 school projects have either been completed, are on site or are in advanced architectural planning," the spokesman said.
"The remaining six school projects announced for 2015 have not advanced as the department expected due to specific issues arising in the case of such projects such as site issues, planning difficulties etc."
However, Mr Byrne said the minister "needs to knuckle down" and ensure construction gets under way on the remaining projects.
"These new schools were meant to be delivered long ago and further delays cannot be tolerated," he said.
The 19 schools
Knockanean Primary School, Ennis, Co Clare
St Finian’s CC, Swords, Co Dublin
SN Creachmhaoil, Craughwell, Co Galway
Carrigtwohill Primary School, Co Cork
Gaelscoil Charraig Uí Leighin, Co Cork
Sonas, Carrigaline, Co Cork
South Suburbs Post-Primary School, Cork
Gaelcholáiste Charraig Uí Leighin, Co Cork
Carrigtwohill Post-Primary School, Co Cork
St Francis of Assisi, Balgriffin Park, Belmayne, Dublin 13
Belmayne Education Together NS, Balgriffin Park, Dublin 13
Gaelscoil Ros Eo, Rush, Co Dublin
Scoil Niamh, Citywest Community NS, Tallaght, Dublin
Citywest ET, Tallaght, Dublin
Claregalway ETNS, Claregalway, Co Galway
Gaelscoil an Longfoirt, Fearann Úi Dhuagain, Co Longford
Curraghmore NS, Mullingar, Co Westmeath
St Senan’s NS, Enniscorthy, Co Wexford
St Patrick’s Special School, Bohreen Hill, Enniscorthy, Co Wexford