PAC Meeting | Feb 28, 2013
RE: School Accommodation Costs
Mr. Seán Ó Foghlú, Secretary General, Department of Education and Skills, called and examined.
Deputy John Deasy (extract):
Mr. Ó Foghlú will be glad to hear that I wish to raise just one issue... I will use the specific example of Kilmacthomas national school in Waterford and will get into the national policy after that.
The school (pictured) needs an extension and the Department insisted that it get quotes for the cost of buying two replacement prefabs. Based on the preferred tender just received, buying the two prefabs and connecting them to the school's heating system would cost €160,000, which is approximately 80% of the cost of a new build. The capital cost estimate for two permanent build classrooms is €200,000.
As Mr. Ó Foghlú will be aware the prefabs have a book life of approximately ten years even though many of us have been in prefabs that are 20 or 25 years old and still in use. I thought the Department had changed its policy direction on the issue. It might be preferable to give the school the €160,000 and let it raise additional money locally.
The architect involved has said that the provision of two prefabs does not represent value for money in the medium or long term and recommends that the school seek to have the proposed prefabs funding reallocated towards a two-year permanent classroom extension and then try to raise the money locally... Kilmacthomas is a clear example of the cost-benefit question. I want Mr. Ó Foghlú to respond specifically to the example I have raised.
>> Read John's contributions and questions in full here: (pages 25-26)
Selected contributions, 2013 meetings of PAC
As the public spending watchdog, the Public Accounts Committee is one of the most powerful Oireachtas Committees. It has a key role to play in ensuring that there is accountability and transparency in the way Government agencies allocate, spend and manage their finances and in guaranteeing that the taxpayer receives value for money for every euro spent.