Ireland’s youngest councillor reckons that the process of four years is far too slow and overly delays, a worthwhile project like the Tramore secondary school.
With less than a month to go until the end of the year the Department of Education is yet to spend over a quarter of their budget.
The department was granted €841m to spend on school buildings and other capital projects this year, a record amount for the department, but they have so far not spent €213m.
Government departments are allowed to carry over a maximum of 10% of their budget to the following year; this would mean €129m of money allocated to school buildings and other education infrastructure would return into central government unspent.
Tramore Town Councillor Tom Raine stated, ‘For the Department of Education not to spend €213m that was vowed for school buildings and other capital projects is outrageous. Here in Tramore me and my Fine Gael colleagues are trying our upmost to get the tendering process fast tracked so that Tramore can become one of the leaders in the south east for education with the building of a €20m new school, then to hear the Department of Education has over six times that amount set to go to waste is alarming.’
The Department has told an Oireachtas Committee that problems with set backs have caused delays to getting projects on site.
Councillor Raine continued, ‘The tendering process takes around four years to complete, if there is now problems occurring here then how long are we to expect now?’
‘I completely understand that there has to be a tendering process but however, if you have a site to build on passed, money granted, money there, then why should the students and the people of Tramore have to wait more than four years for their application to simply be tendered?’
‘With the rate of unemployment in the construction industry up to 18.7% in the month of October, there would also be much needed job creation in this sector with the construction of the new school. With all of these factors taken into account it is apparent that it is only the Governments tendering process that is holding us back from our new amalgamated secondary school in Tramore.’
‘I would like to guarantee that over the coming months me and my Fine Gael colleagues in Tramore will be doing our foremost to bring the length of time expected for this tendering process forward.’