Calls for New Approach to Solve School Building Crisis in West Cork
STATEMENT BY SENATOR MICHAEL MCCARTHY
Labour Party Senator for Cork South-West
Labour Party Senator for Cork South-West, Michael McCarthy, has called on the Government and the Minister for Education & Science, Batt O'Keeffe to adopt a new approach to solve the massive school building crisis in West Cork.
Senator McCarthy said, "There is a need to speed up the process of school building. Clonakilty Gael Scoil has been waiting for over a decade for a new school building. The current school building process is slow and over-bureaucratic. Very few people can actually understand how it works.
"There is a need to drastically overhaul the procedures and to make them more user-friendly. There is also a need to adapt the procedures to suit the specific needs of each school. The requirements of schools can vary greatly depending on location, enrollment numbers and the socio-economic background of its pupils. A "one size fits all" approach has failed. The current economic crisis can present an opportunity for the Government to re-access how it goes about progressing capital projects."
Speaking in the Seanad during a debate on education funding, Senator McCarthy proposed that the Government could guarantee a mortgage that would be taken out by the Boards of Management of some schools. As well as allowing the project to proceed without further delay, it would also provide work for the construction industry in these leaner times.
"The money that is currently being used to rent prefabs and land could then be used to repay the mortgage. Nowhere would this scheme prove more adaptable than at Clonakilty Gael Scoil in Co. Cork. At present €300,000 per annum is being spent on rent while a site for the new school lies idle. It makes no sense for the Government to waste this money on rent when it could be paying for a brand new school.
"This proposal has received the support of Eamon Gilmore who visited the Gael Scoil in Clonakilty last week. I would ask the Minister to look at this proposal and to give it his urgent consideration. It is an effective way to get our much needed schools and to provide jobs for an industry in difficulty."
Contact Senator Michael McCarthy at 087 648 1004 www.labour.ie/press