Population growth dictates change and the Construction Industry Federation has been lobbying for special programmes to boost the school building sector. The Department of Education has a major requirement for school building and there is a big demand for extra school places with the rising population. To date, the system has been extremely slow to build school classrooms.
In Tramore and Ballgunner, they have had long delays in getting the go-ahead for projects. The CIF has suggested a lease and build arrangement with the Department of Education leasing initially then owning subsequently. This would mean that it would not take as much out of capital budgets and allow more projects to go ahead.
Some creative thinking is needed to stimulate construction and this is a very positive proposal. A special agency like the National Roads Authority is needed to oversee such plans and expedite them more quickly. At present the Department is paying large sums for portocabins but, surely, it would be better to be leasing school buildings and getting long term value.
Our TDS and councillors should be lobbying for change here. More schools are needed, not more pre-fabs as a stop gap measure. The new Minister for Education could win plaudits by moving forward on this proposal. The population projections were wrong in the past and not enough schools were built. Now is the time to change this and get Ireland in line with other European nations.