Sunday 25 February 2018

Funds for school repairs 'should be ring-fenced'

Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

A TEACHERS' union has called for the return of 'ring-fenced' funding every year to allow for school buildings to be maintained and upgraded.

The Irish National Teachers Organisation (INTO) said it did not make economic sense to build new schools while allowing others to deteriorate.

The union was commenting after an announcement that a further 386 schools will receive funding to carry out vital improvement works during the summer break. Almost €35m is being provided under the second round of the Summer Works Scheme, Education Minister Ruairi Quinn announced.

Most of the projects involve upgrading toilets or roofs in 280 primary and 106 post-primary schools, with a total of 101,000 pupils.

Mr Quinn said the funding would be a welcome boost for the construction sector as it should support jobs in the communities in which these schools are situated.

INTO president Sean McMahon welcomed the announcement – but said it was vitally important that schools got this type of investment on an ongoing basis.

Mr McMahon said the Government had a responsibility to ensure that existing schools were maintained to a modern standard, and that the Department of Education should 'ring-fence' a percentage of all future capital funding for that purpose.

"It does not make economic sense to build schools while allowing others to deteriorate," Mr McMahon said.

"Saving on necessary refurbishment and maintenance is a false economy," he added.

Irish Independent

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