Published on the 07 November 2013 by Sean Keane s
TWO school improvements funds worth almost €70m will take significant pressure off parents and school boards and will lead to a welcome boom for local tradesmen and women, according to Fine Gael TD, John Paul Phelan.
The 35 year-old welcomed confirmation from the Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairí Quinn T.D regarding the allocation of almost €70 million for school improvements.
Over €28 million is being made available as a once-off payment to primary schools as part of the Minor Works Grant scheme. Another €40 million will be allocated under the Summer Works Scheme 2014 which is being re-introduced to fund the improvement and upgrading of existing school buildings. Details of monies allocated for works in the Kilkenny area is expected shortly.
This scheme will not only improve the learning environment for thousands of students, but the projects will also stimulate economic activity by supporting 2,400 direct and 480 indirect much needed construction jobs in the local economy, Deputy Phelan said. Schools typically tend to engage the services of local tradesmen and the work will be a welcome boost, he said.
The Minor Works Grant will be paid to primary schools in the coming weeks and will allow schools to complete small scale repair works without the need to interact with the Department.
“I know that the immediate payment of this grant in 2013 will be welcomed by school communities and management bodies as a valuable contribution to the costs of maintaining school infrastructure. “Funding from the Summer Works Scheme will allow schools to carry out small and medium scale building works such as gas, electrical and mechanical works, roof and window upgrades, structural improvements; works that will improve and upgrade existing school buildings.”
Deputy Phelan said it is up to schools to identify the most urgently required projects to be funded from the Summer Works Scheme. Each school across Kilkenny can apply for one small scale project and will be responsible for the completion of those works.
“This funding package is being made as part of this Government’s continued commitment to improve facilities in schools throughout the country. These works will be carried out in schools over the summer months, when the pupils are on holidays, so the disruption to schooling will be kept to a minimum,” Deputy Phelan said.
Schools can apply for these grants online using the Esinet portal. A Freephone service is also available to assist schools with queries. It can be contacted at 1800 200 955 daily from 10am to 1pm and 2pm to 4.30pm from 7th November to 10th December 2013.