Fianna Fáil Seanad Group Leader, Senator Catherine Ardagh has said that the Government must step up to the mark and do more to end the overreliance on prefabs in schools across the Capital.
Earlier this month Fianna Fáil revealed new information which shows that there has been a 30% increase in the use of prefabs in schools between 2015 and 2017.
The Dublin based Senator commented, “Over the past number of months, I have visited many primary and secondary schools on the south side of our city where students are being taught in sub-standard, poor quality prefabs.
“A significant number of the prefab facilities I’ve come to witness have issues around dampness, inadequate heating, poor toilet facilities and even vermin. In this day and age it is simply not acceptable to put up with these conditions which are dangerous for staff and pupils.
“Far from reducing the State’s reliance of prefabs, Fine Gael is actually increasing their use, and it’s down to a simple fact: Fine Gael slashed investment in capital infrastructure projects after 2011 and we are now playing catch up.
“It is abundantly clear from speaking with principals and staff locally that the school building programme is not keeping up with demand for places in the South Inner City.
“On Friday last, the Government were quick to publicise plans to build over 40 new schools to deal with demographic growth. Sadly, it’s of little surprise that the educational needs of D8 and D12 communities were ignored under this latest plan.
“The Government weren’t shouting about was its ill-considered decision to delay the delivery of much needed extensions or refurbishments to schools in our area that are relying on prefabs for extra capacity. Some of the most vulnerable children, who already struggle in difficult home environments, are now falling behind by being educated in these sub-standard conditions.
Senator Ardagh concluded, “The Minister needs to accept that his capital budget is insufficient for the job at hand. Not only has it resulted in a huge increase in prefabs in Dublin South Central schools, but the five year capital plan is grossly delayed and many projects repeatedly promised before it was published have not even begun.”