13 May 2002
`School buildings programme in chaos' - Ó Caoláin
Sinn Fein Cavan/Monaghan candidate Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has described as 'chaotic' the government's School Buildings Programme. He said:
"Today, five days before the General Election, the Minister for Education Dr. Michael Woods, has published a list of schools which he purports are moving ahead towards major repairs or rebuilding. Some of these schools are in a dire state. Yet hundreds more are still awaiting approval to progress from the Department.
"Last week I was contacted by the parents of Killinkere National School in Co. Cavan, one of a number of schools in this constituency on the Minister's list. A sewage tank recently overflowed onto the children's play area. 160 pupils and 6 teachers are trying to cope in a school built in the 1970s for 60 pupils and two to three teachers. Yet Killinkere has still not received approval to go to tender four years after they first applied.
"For many months now both the Irish National Teachers Organisation and elected representatives, including myself, have been pressing the government both to speed up the process of approval for works on schools and to inform schools when they can expect to receive approval.
"Despite repeated promises in the Dáil, the Minister for Education has failed to provide full information. A partial list of schools in their various categories (approved to go to tender, approved for works during this summer, in architectural planning etc.) was published in the Irish Independent today and is, we are told, due to be published in full on the Department of Education website later today.
"The government withheld the list either to minimise the discontent among those schools not yet approved or to garner for electoral gain the relief of schools who have been given the green light. This is totally unacceptable."
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