School prefab rent costs State almost €20m a year

Some schools have been waiting over three decades for classrooms as the State spends almost €20m every year renting prefabs.

Figures provided by Education Minister Ruairi Quinn show over €19m went on the rental costs of prefabs in primary and post primary facilities last year.

The higher amounts in taxpayers’ funds were spent renting prefabs in Dublin (€4.2m), Cork (€2.7m), Galway (€1.3m), and Meath (€1.1m).

In all, €17.4m was used to rent prefabs for primary schools. Another €1.6m went on temporary structures for secondary schools.

The details, provided in written parliamentary answers to Fianna Fáil TD Charlie McConalogue, also reveal the length of time some schools have been waiting for classrooms.

For some facilities, the commencement date for rental accommodation goes back decades.

St Paul’s Youth Encounter, a school for children from disadvantaged areas and dysfunctional homes in Finglas, Dublin, has been renting prefabs since 1977.

Gaelscoil Uí Ríordáin in Ballincollig, Co Cork, has been waiting since 1983 for facilities and has rented prefabs since then. The school caters for more than 530 children.

Mr Quinn has set out a five-year construction plan to cope with increased pupil numbers.

Savings of about €5m per year could be recouped as rental costs for prefabs cease and permanent structures are built. Figures from the department show the cost of renting a standard 80sqm prefab is about €15,000.

Mr Quinn last year promised to spend €40.5m to replace the structures.


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