Education

29/07/2013

Increase in special education classes in north county for 2013

09/09/2013

Three new special education classes have been allocated to schools in the north county this September, according to Alan Farrell, Fine Gael TD for Dublin Fingal.

“As part of a nationwide increase of 118 classes announced by the National Council of Special Education, additional special education classes will be provided for students in Bracken Educate Together in Balbriggan, Kilcoskan National School in The Ward and Donabate VEC Post Primary School.

“These classes will be attached to mainstream schools and are an option for students with significant needs that cannot be met in a mainstream class. These classes will have lower pupil-teacher ratios, ranging from one teacher to six pupils, to one teacher to eleven pupils.

“This allocation brings to 22 the number of special classes, primary and post primary, in Dublin Fingal, following an addition of four in 2012.

“Nationally, there are 740 special classes in mainstream schools, catering for 5,000 students. Including this year’s allocation, 242 classes have been added to the system during the lifetime of this government.

“I would like to commend the schools in Dublin Fingal for opening up their facilities for special education classes. It is reassuring for parents and children that they can have their needs met locally, without have to travel long distances every morning for school.

“A new booklet has been published by the NCSE to help parents of children with special needs choose a school for their son/daughter. The booklet is available here http://www.ncse.ie/uploads/1/Choosing_School_11_08_13W_060913.pdf

Farrell encourages students to apply early for SUSI grants

13/06/2013

Fine Gael TD, Alan Farrell has called on Fingal students who will be attending college from September this year to apply early for their college grants through Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI).

Deputy Farrell said, “SUSI college grant applications are now being accepted from students all over the country who will be attending college in September 2013.

“A number of new measures are being implemented this year to reduce the backlog including;

– a tracking system to allow students to follow its progress online;

– enhanced reporting mechanisms;

– a direct link with the Revenue Commissions;

– a direct link with the Central Applications Office (CAO) and;

– a new communications plan to engage all stakeholders in the process of delivering grants, making the overall system much more accessible.”

“It is worth noting that applicants do not have to wait until they receive an offer of a place or enroll in college. SUSI have put together a comprehensive package of information available on their website for students who might be or will be attending college later this year.

“I am be appealing to students to ensure their application forms are filled out correctly and to ensure that SUSI fill the information vacuum that currently exists for much of the information that is required during the application process.

“Applications can be submitted online by accessing the Student Grant section of www.studentfinance.ie. I am urging Dublin Fingal students who intend to avail of the education grant scheme for September entry to apply through SUSI as soon as possible”, concluded Deputy Farrell.

Step 1: Who should apply to SUSI? If you are a new student or changing course you should apply to SUSI through www.studentfinance.ie If you were awarded a grant by SUSI in 2012/13 you must login with the username and password of your awarded grant application. A letter issued to you recently with your username. There is a forgotten password function on the system which will send an email to the email account you used when registering in 2012/13. If you are currently in receipt of a grant from an Awarding Authority other than SUSI and are continuing on the same course you will remain with your existing awarding authority. You should contact your awarding authority regarding the renewal of your grant.

Step 2: If you are a new student you must register (You will need your PPS Number). If you were awarded a grant by SUSI in 2012/13 you must login with the username and password of your awarded grant application.

Step 3: Log into the system and complete your application. Note: you can save your progress and return to the application at anytime.

Step 4: After you submit your application, the system will send you an email with a copy of your application for information purposes only.

Step 5: The SUSI assessment team will contact you by post after they have completed the initial assessment of your application. Following this initial assessment you may be asked to submit photocopies of documentary evidence to support your application.

 Farrell welcomes prefab replacement for three schools in Dublin Fingal

10/06/2013

Three national schools in Fingal will receive funding to replace existing prefabs with permanent accommodation, according to Fine Gael TD for Dublin Fingal Alan Farrell.

“Students in St. Oliver Plunkett’s school in Balrothery, St. Patrick’s Junior School and Holmpatrick National School in Skerries can look forward to being taught in permanent classrooms instead of prefabricated buildings as a result of government investment in education facilities in Dublin Fingal.

“This allocation is part of the 2013 prefab replacement scheme, which is being rolled out by the current Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn in order to dismantle the disastrous Fianna Fail policy of renting prefabs in order to address the long term needs of our education system.

“Regrettably, the consequence of this policy is that millions of euro of taxpayer’s money has been wasted renting and repairing sub-standard prefabricated buildings that were never suitable in the first instance.

“I recently met with the Principal of St. Oliver Plunkett’s National School who had been seeking to provide students with permanent accommodation, and I would like to congratulate all three Principals on their dedicated efforts to improve education facilities for their students and our future generations.

“In 2012, five schools in Dublin Fingal received funding to replace prefabs in their schools with permanent buildings, and the success of this scheme has meant that three more schools have been added to the list. Nationally, €35 million was spent in 2012 and a further €15 million will be spent this year as part of this programme.   To date, there has been a 37% reduction in the number of prefabs being used across the country.

“This is a clear delivery of policies outlined in the Programme for Government.  Replacing prefabs offers better accommodation for students and savings for schools and the Exchequer, as well as providing construction jobs.  More importantly, however, it will mean a significant improvement to the education and well-being of our future generation.”

Local Junior School will meet high student demand in 2013

11/04/2013

Fine Gael TD for Dublin Fingal Alan Farrell has received confirmation that St. Sylvester’s Junior National School has agreed a solution to meet pupil demand for 2013.

“I am delighted to receive confirmation from the Department of Education that St. Sylvester’s Junior National School has agreed arrangements with its Patron that it will meet the accommodation needs of the junior infants in the Malahide area from September 2013.

“Following an enrolment crisis where over 30 children were placed on a waiting list for this September, I have continuously engaged with the Department and the Minister for Education in order to ensure that the seriousness of this situation was fully understood, and that a solution was required as a matter of urgency.

“I commend the Principal of St. Sylvester’s NS as well as the Catholic Church patron for resolving this issue on behalf of the students and parents to whom this decision will mean so much.

“While I am very pleased with this outcome in the short term, we must acknowledge that the current school crisis in Malahide is a legacy issue that should have been avoided, as stats predicted this spike in demand as far back as 2006.

“I am determined to ensure that the Department of Education will continue to address this issue in order to provide a viable long term solution for the Malahide community.”

“Following an enrolment crisis where over 30 children were placed on a waiting list for this September, I have continuously engaged with the Department and the Minister for Education in order to ensure that the seriousness of this situation was fully understood, and that a solution was required as a matter of urgency.

“I commend the Principal of St. Sylvester’s NS as well as the Catholic Church patron for resolving this issue on behalf of the students and parents to whom this decision will mean so much.

“While I am very pleased with this outcome in the short term, we must acknowledge that the current school crisis in Malahide is a legacy issue that should have been avoided, as stats predicted this spike in demand as far back as 2006.

“I am determined to ensure that the Department of Education will continue to address this issue in order to provide a viable long term solution for the Malahide community.”

Action Plan will help teachers, pupils and parents in Dublin Fingal tackle scourge of bullying

29/01/2013

Fine Gael TD for Dublin Fingal, Alan Farrell TD, has today  said that the Government’s new Action Plan on Bullying will help to tackle the scourge of bullying in schools across Dublin Fingal. Five hundred thousand euro has been ring-fenced to support the implementation of the plan this year, which will include a campaign on cyber bullying and the development of national anti-bullying procedures for all schools.

“Bullying, whether is it online or in the school corridor, can have a very serious impact on children and young people. Your confidence and self-belief can be shattered as a result of taunts and harassment from your peers. This can have a lasting impact well into adulthood, and it is something that we should all be working together to address.

“As a former member of the board of management of several post-primary schools over the years, I think it is particularly appropriate to introduce such steps to focus on the reduction of bullying within our education system.

“Last year, the Minister for Education, Ruairi Quinn TD, and the Minister for Children, Frances Fitzgerald TD, held an Anti-Bullying Forum, which invited submissions from interested parties and stakeholders. This has fed into the new Action Plan on Bullying, which includes 12 actions and a series of recommendations, has the potential to make a real difference in how we tackle this problem in our schools.

“As part of the plan, a new national anti-bullying website will be established to give parents, teachers and pupils advice and information. New national procedures will be developed for all schools, which will include a template for recording incidents of bullying, to be in place by the start of the next school year. This will help us look at where and why bullying is occurring.

“The problem of bullying is nothing new; unfortunately children have been bullied for as long as they have been going to school. But cyber bullying has added a new dimension to the problem; and we all need to face the challenge of how to tackle online harassment and abuse. As part of the Action Plan, a media campaign focussed on cyber bullying will be launched in early February, specifically targeted at young people.

“The Action Plan includes plans to review current training procedures for teachers, to ensure they are getting the on-going support they need to effectively tackle bullying. A number of recommendations have also been made on the need for schools and community groups to work together in the development and implementation of anti-bullying policies. Bullying is not confined to any one space; and it must be tackled in a cross-community fashion.

“It is also important that social media companies and internet service providers continue to work with State Agencies to raise awareness about cyber bullying and how to address it.”

 

Farrell welcomes provision of thousands of new training places for long-term unemployed

18/12/2012

Fine Gael TD for Dublin Fingal Alan Farrell, has today Tuesday welcomed the announcement that free educating and training places are being provided for up to 6,500 people who are long-term unemployed. The MOMENTUM programme is a new Government initiative, which has been launched by the Minister for Education, Ruairí Quinn TD, and the Minister of State for Training and Skills, Ciarán Cannon TD.

“Creating job opportunities, particularly for the long-term unemployed, is a key aim for this Government. We are completely rebuilding what was a broken economy, and a crucial part of this process is ensuring that our workforce has the right skills to meet the challenges of tomorrow. These 6,500 new education and training places are particularly focussed on giving jobseekers access to areas of the economy where there are opportunities.

“Under this initiative, a huge range of programmes will be provided by 36 education and training providers in the public and private sector. They will be spread right across the country, and will focus on the expanding employment areas of ICT, digital media, healthcare and social services, the green economy, food processing and sales and marketing. In Dublin Fingal, there are a range of courses available including PRISM, Food production, Healthcare assistance, warehousing and manufacturing.

“The courses will be specifically tailored to meet the needs of the long-term unemployed, using international best practice to suit the Irish context. For younger jobseekers, a range of activation projects will also be available for those aged under 25 to help them get into the workforce.

“As a Government, we are determined to get people back to work. We have already seen some  progress in terms of employment figures; the number of people on the Live Register has fallen by more than 12,000 over the last year. Private sector employment is growing for the first time in four years, with thousands of jobs being created in the exporting sectors and in IDA-supported companies. We need to ensure our workforce has the right skills to maximise these emerging opportunities.

“Helping unemployed people access high quality and economically relevant training opportunities will help to turn around our jobs market. MOMENTUM places an emphasis on strong labour market opportunities including significant work placement as an integrated part of courses. Funding will only be provided for courses that supply needed skills, ensuring people are getting the training they need to get back to work.”

 

“Additional funding for Fingal Enterprise Board will fund the creation of up to 20 jobs in Dublin Fingal” according  to Fine Gael TD for Dublin Fingal Alan Farrell.  “The Minister for Small Business, John Perry T.D. has announced the provision of an additional €200,000 for Fingal County Enterprise fund to directly fund job creation in Dublin Fingal to fund job creation projects in the remaining months of 2012.

“This is part of an national €3.78million fund that has just been announced for County and City Enterprise Boards to support and encourage companies to start-up or expand their services and thereby create and sustain jobs around the country.”

“This announcement follows an exercise in which each CEB was asked to examine the funding it currently has available and to determine whether this was sufficient to cover the project proposals coming to them over the rest of the year. Arising from this exercise, 5 Boards concluded that their existing allocation of funds in 2012 was sufficient to meet their needs.

“It is well established that a huge proportion of jobs in this country are held in small, local enterprises. These companies are the lifeblood that is playing a key role in helping to restore our local economy to a healthier footing.”

 

Parliamentary Question – Malahide Schools and Catchment Area

14/06/2012
To ask the Minister for Education and Skills his views on whether existing primary schools in Malahide County Dublin have sufficient lands to cater for projected growth within the catchment area; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Answer: Minister Ruairí QuinnMy Department is satisfied that the existing schools in Malahide can cater for enrolments in the area in the short to medium term.My Department will continue to monitor enrolments in the Malahide area to ensure that there is sufficient school accommodation to meet any projected future demands.

Parliamentary Question – Prefabricated Classrooms St. Sylvester’s Infant School

06/06/2012

To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if he will provide a report on the long term suitability of recently purchased prefabricated classrooms at a school (details supplied) in County Dublin following several engineering reports both before and after his Department mandated purchase that found that defective materials were used in their construction; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (St. Sylvester’s Infant School, Malahide).

Answer: Minister Ruairí QuinnThe temporary accommodation, referred to by the Deputy was considered to be in good condition and well maintained when acquired by my Department. In the period since the purchase, my Department was advised by the school of issues with the accommodation. A technical assessment has been carried out recently by Department staff and the report in the matter is being considered. My Department will be in contact with the school authorities shortly in this regard.

Farrell welcomes announcement of five new school building projects in North County

11/12/2012

Fine Gael TD for Dublin Fingal, Alan Farrell, has welcomed the announcement by Minister for Education, Ruairí Quinn, that five new school building projects will take place in Fingal in 2013.

“This is great news for Lusk, Skerries, Balbriggan and Rush as parents can plan for the future with confidence that these projects will proceed as planned and without delay. Work will commence on Lusk Community College, which will be the first provision of second level education for the area, Flemington-Balbriggan National School, Skerries Educate Together, Scoil Catríona in Rush and Coláiste Glor na Mora in Stephenstown.

“This will bring to ten the number of significant school building projects in the north county in the space of two years and marks a real investment in our children’s education in the area.

“Fingal has the one of the fastest growing populations in the country and is the youngest constituency in Europe.  I am glad that this has finally been recognised by the Department of Education,  and that these school places will be in permanent structures and not temporary prefab accommodation as had been policy for so long.

“On a national level, this will lead to the creation of over 4,000 jobs during construction phase and will provide over 25,000 permanent school places. Of these, almost 21,000 will be additional places and the remainder will replace temporary or unsatisfactory accommodation.

“We have to try to ensure that every child growing up in Ireland will have access to a school place and ideally, a space that makes learning more appealing.

“The projects being announced are part of the €2 billion five year plan which will see 275 new major school building projects implemented over the period 2012-2016.

“This announcement is part of the Government’s plan to provide more than 100,000 permanent school places over the course of the five year plan. Total enrolment in both primary and post-primary schools is expected to grow by around 70,000 between now and 2018 – by over 45,000 at primary level and 25,000 at post primary. These schools will help deal with this increased demand.”

 

Four new special needs classes for Dublin North

23/08/2012

“There will be four new classes in Dublin North for children with special needs this September” according to Fine Gael TD for Dublin North Alan Farrell, following an announcement by the National Council for Special Education.  “From September 2012, there will be two classes for children with special needs in Holywell Educate Together Primary school in Swords, one in Bracken Educate Together in Balbriggan, and a Post Primary class in Donabate Community College.

“These classes have lower pupil-teacher ratios than mainstream classes, ranging from one teacher for six pupils to one teacher for eleven pupils.

“These classes will enable students with special needs to transition from primary to post primary settings.  While most of these classes have been allocated at primary level, there has been an increase in the number of special classes available at post-primary level.

“Nationwide, there will be 91 new classes for children with special needs opening by the start of the school year. This is an increase from 33 in 2011.

“I would advise parents to contact the NCSE or their Special Needs Education Organiser in relation to places that may be available as a result of this announcement.

“This is a very important announcement for Dublin North. We have growing population and therefore require extra provision for children with special needs to be educated and progress in a mainstream school along with their peers.

“These new classes have been sanctioned as a result of the dedication and work that has been carried out by the NCSE and the Government in relation to prioritising and investing in support for children with special needs.”

Patronage of Lusk Secondary School awarded to the Vocational Education Committee

25/07/2012

Fine Gael TD for Dublin North Alan Farrell has congratulated the Vocational Education Committee for its successful bid for patronage of Lusk Secondary School. “I would like to extend my sincere congratulations to the VEC for its successful bid for patronage of the new secondary school in Lusk. The decision was based on a number of factors, including parental demand for plurality and diversity of patronage.

“Patrons were asked to provide evidence of parental demand when making an application for a new school, as well as their proposals to provide for extending or strengthening diversity of provision in each area, having regard to the views of parents.

“Earlier this year I wrote to all parents in Lusk with details on how to officially support to their preferred patron, to ensure that all parents had the opportunity to express their points of view.

“The Minister for Education set up an independent advisory board to ensure that the appointment of this patron would be an objective and transparent process. The arrangements included the establishment of a New Schools Establishment Group, an independent advisory group, to advise the Minister on the patronage of the new schools following its consideration of a report prepared by Department officials.

“I would also like to extend my congratulations to Educate Together on its successful bid for patronage of two new post primary schools in Dublin and Louth, which will firmly establish Education Together as a patron for post primary facilities throughout the country for future generations.

“With regard to Balbriggan,  with whom patronage has been awarded to An Foras Pátrúnachta,  the Department noted the high level of parental demand identified as part of this process for alternative language provision in these areas. In light of this, the Department will be making provision to cater for this alternative demand in both of these areas in the medium term.

“I would like to extend my best wishes to the VEC in this new venture, as well as all students and families of Lusk that will benefit from this vital facility for generations to come. The provision of this school means so much families and students the area and I am confident that this decision will ensure its successful establishment within the community.”

Permanent classrooms to replace prefabs in five North County schools

05/06/2012Permanent classrooms to replace prefabs in five North County schools –  Farrell

Fine Gael Dublin North TD Alan Farrell, has welcomed the announcement by Minister for Education, Ruairí Quinn, that five schools in the north county will have their prefabs replaced with permanent classrooms. This is part of a national announcement which will see more than 91 schools around the country replace prefabs with permanent classrooms. This week’s announcement follows on from the provision of funding in March for the building of classrooms in 77 schools.

I believe that this will improve the quality of learning and education in these schools. The phasing out of prefabs in our schools was a commitment made in the Programme for Government. Approximately 6,000 students around the country will move from prefabs into permanent classrooms and resource rooms and I am delighted to see that students in Scoil Mologa, Balbriggan; The Naul National School; Scoil Phadraic Cailini, Donabate; Holy Family SNS, Swords & St. Teresa National School, Balbriggan will now be benefiting from this initiative.

For too long prefabs were chosen instead of building permanent classrooms in order to address the shortage of accommodation in our schools. There are many disadvantages to prefabs including rental and heating costs, not to mention the quality of the accommodation. The Department & the Minister have shown that despite the current economic climate, we are committed to investing in essential social infrastructure such as classrooms for our even growing north county population.

This investment by the Government will result in the creation of an estimated 700 direct and 140 indirect jobs across the country. The scheme will result in savings of approximately €5 million per annum on the rental of prefabs in these schools in coming years. The Government will spend €430 million on education infrastructure in 2012. While we are constrained by our ongoing economic challenges, education remains a top priority for this Government, as does ensuring that the children of Dublin North are taught in a more appropriate setting.

ENDS

SCOIL MOLOGA, BALBRIGGAN 1 X 80M2

THE NAUL NS 1 X 80M2, 2 X 25M2

SCOIL PHADRAIC CAILINI, DONABATE 3 X 80M2

HOLY FAMILY SNS, SWORDS 3 X 25M2

ST COLMCILLES BNS, SWORDS 2 X 25M2

ST TERESA NS, BALBRIGGAN 2 X 80M2

Over 6,000 new places announced on Springboard 2012

21/05/2012
The Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairí Quinn T.D., together with the Minister of State for Training and Skills, Ciarán Cannon T.D., today announced 6,000 new part-time higher education places for unemployed people as part of a further roll out of the Springboard initiative.
36 institutes of technology, universities and privately-run higher education colleges around the country will be offering 220 Springboard courses.
These courses will be in the expanding enterprise areas of ICT, medical devices, the green economy, pharmaceuticals, food and beverages, and international financial services.  Programmes will also be available in cutting edge cross-enterprise skills such as Six Sigma, lean and quality systems, international selling, languages, business start-up and entrepreneurship skills. Courses are free, part-time, and are at certificate, degree and postgraduate level.
Announcing the 6,000 places today, Minister Quinn said: “The Government is committed, through the Action Plan for Jobs, to supporting business to create jobs and getting growth back into the economy.  Springboard is providing a dynamic pipeline of job-ready graduates with the skills and qualifications that the expanding growth sectors of our economy need.”
Over 3,500 people are due to graduate this month from the first round of Springboard programmes, which were put in place in 2011.
“Not only do these graduates have up to date qualifications, they also have a wealth of experience and workforce skills to bring to an employer,” the Minister added.
Minister Cannon said: “This Government is determined that, as the economy recovers, unemployed people will be supported to return to employment by accessing re-skilling opportunities appropriate to their needs.  An expansion of Springboard in 2012 is one of the commitments provided for in “Pathways to Work”.“A number of changes to Springboard 2012 are also being introduced in response to feedback on last year’s first phase of Springboard.

The eligibility criteria have been expanded to include people who were previously self-employed and people in receipt of an extended number of social welfare payments such as the Disability Allowance and the Carer’s Allowance.   A Freephone Guidance line 1800 303523 is also being put in place to assist people with course choices and applications. The HEA-funded Freephone line is being hosted in the Irish National Organisation of the Unemployed.
The Springboard programme has been developed in close collaboration with enterprise and the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs. Funding is only available for programmes in areas of identified skills needs and which provide for an accredited qualification. Programmes will be available from higher certificate to post graduate degree levels.
IBEC Head of Education Policy, Tony Donohue, said: “IBEC is pleased to see a further roll out of Springboard places this year. Feedback from enterprise to-date has been very positive. IBEC is working with the HEA to support the 3,500+ graduates who are due to complete the programme this month, as well as promoting awareness in enterprise sectors of the benefits of the overall Springboard initiative.”

School anti-bullying strategy should begin at home

25/04/2012

Parents are uniquely positioned to identify signs of bullying

Fine Gael TD for Dublin North, Alan Farrell, is calling on the Minister for Education, Ruairí Quinn, to consider the launch of a public campaign to encourage parents to address issues around bullying with their children, as part of National Anti-Bullying week and in the run up to the Department’s National Bullying forum in May.

“I welcome the Department of Education’s upcoming forum on bullying in schools to be held in May 2012. Official department guidelines on bullying for schools have not been updated since 1993 due to a mandatory requirement on each school to have their own bullying policy.

“I would strongly urge that, as part of this campaign, we encourage parents to engage with their children about the issue of bullying. Parents are uniquely positioned to identify signs of bullying in their children, be they the victim or the perpetrator. As a preventative measure, parents can be influential in terms of making their children aware of the negative impact of bullying.

“School bullying is not something that the education system can have a genuine impact on without the continuous support and vigilance of parents. Young children and teenagers are exposed to bullying through social media both in and outside of school hours at a time when teachers are faced with increased levels of responsibility and evolving curricula.

“I would urge the Minister for Education to launch a national campaign, consistent with expert guidelines, which would encourage parents to address the issue of bullying with their children of all ages. It is an informal and personal way to educate children on what bullying actually involves, and how it can impact the children around them.  It also opens up a discourse on bullying in the home, and may encourage parents to be vigilant and aware of the possibility that their child may either be a target or source of bullying at school.

“It is important that we have a strategy inside and outside the classroom to detect and remove bullying in schools. If a child is a victim of bullying, it may be difficult to approach a teacher or parent out of fear or insecurity.  Similarly, parents may find it difficult to come to terms with the idea that their child may be at the root of the issue, which many teachers will identify as being a barrier to the implementation of anti-bullying strategies. Teachers are responsible for monitoring large groups of students at a time and it can be difficult to recognise a change in pattern or behaviour of each child when there is so much else going on.

“I commend the ISPCC and the Minister for Education for highlighting the necessity to address bullying in schools. I am confident that participation in the upcoming national anti-bullying forum is embraced by teachers and parents across the country and I hope that it will result in an updated and successful approach to making school life significantly easier for our students.”

Education grants target prefab legacy in Dublin North

01/03/2012

Fine Gael TD for Dublin North Alan Farrell has congratulated six schools from Dublin North who have been offered government grants to replace existing prefabricated units with permanent accommodation, as part of a national initiative undertaken by the Minister for Education, Ruairi Quinn TD.

“It is my view that the practise of renting prefabricated buildings has been one of the biggest failures of our education system over the past ten years, not to mention a serious waste of money that could have been invested in proper renovation works for long term gain, particularly during the height of the boom.

“Prefab units should have been a short term solution for expanding schools. Instead, it became government policy to continue to rent or buy units for the long term, becoming a serious source of worry for schools as conditions in prefabs deteriorated over time.

“Parents and teachers have never been comfortable sending children to school in prefab units, particularly those with issues of damp and temperature regulation problems. Over the years I have visited schools around the north county and met teachers and parents who have been campaigning for a resolution to these sub standard prefabs.

“It is for this reason that I understand the importance of this announcement to these schools, Naul National School, Scoil Phadraic in Donabate, Realt Na Mara in Skerries, St. Peter and Paul’s National School, and St Teresa’s in Balbriggan, and St. Colmcille’s in Swords, all of whom I am certain will take full advantage of this investment for their students gain.

“This is one of the biggest initiatives taken on by the Department of Education nationwide and will cost €35 million, separate to the School Building Works fund that was announced late last year.

“This investment in young people is a remarkable achievement for the Department of Education amongst strong budget limitations, and will be of enormous benefit to children across the country.”