Minister’s sour note for music school funding

I WRITE being somewhat perplexed after having read an article by your political reporter Michael O’Farrell (Irish Examiner, May 9).

My problem is that he tells us Education Minister Noel Dempsey has said that "unless European finance rules are changed" we can not have our entitlement Cork's new School of Music.

Has anyone seen the text of the correspondence as issued by Eurostat, the EU financial watchdog (which should be available under the Freedom of Information Act)?

The minister is quoted as saying, "I want to go ahead with the Cork School of Music, I will have to take 60 million out of my first, second and third-level budget and I don't have that".

Now, if the minister is confirming that his department budget is okay so long as we don't let Cork School of Music get in the way, can someone explain please how it was that the very same department successfully engaged in a number of Public Private Partnership schemes which included the recently completed Ballincollig Community School and a similar project at Dunmanway as well as others. Yet there has been no mention of restrictions on funding for these.

Can we assume one of the following:

1. It is proposed to wipe this under the carpet and pay the possible fines that may be issued by Europe out of some other Department of Finance hidden slush fund.

2. The bubble on the already completed projects has yet to burst though they are hoping to keep it under wraps.

3. We in Cork are outside the Pale where our efforts at hosting European Capital of Culture 2005 must be thwarted at every turn.

One way or the other, this issue is not as clearcut as Eurostat blocking the funding so if we keep digging, maybe we will finally get what this city deserves.

Joseph P Murphy,

23, Manor Hill,

Ballincollig,

Co Cork.

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