One in 10 schools are based in temporary rented prefab accommodation, either partially or fully, in some cases for as long as 20 years.
More than 400 of the almost 4,000 schools in the State are currently using or partially using rented accommodation.
The majority of these (69%) are primary schools, and the date of each individual rental ranges from the year 2000 to 2020. Dublin has the highest proportion of schools using temporary accommodation, with 60 primary schools in temporary accommodation, and 18 secondary schools.
In Cork, there are 40 primary schools using temporary accommodation and a further 14 secondary schools. Tipperary has 18 primary schools using temporary accommodation and three secondary schools. In Limerick, there are eight primary schools in temporary accommodation and three secondary schools.
The figures are included in a parliamentary question asked by Thomas Pringle, an Independent TD for Donegal.
The priority of the Department of Education is to ensure every child will have access to a physical school place, according to Norma Foley, the Minister for Education.
“In this regard, it is sometimes necessary to make use of rented temporary accommodation in order to meet the accommodation needs of schools.”
It may also be necessary to make use of temporary rented accommodation when an immediate or short term need arises, she added.
“For example, a school may require a temporary building in circumstances where a major school construction project is planned. Such temporary accommodation is removed when the major project concerned is completed.”
The department takes an “integrated approach” with the Prefab Replacement Programme through the replacement of prefabricated units, she added.