He may have retired recently after almost four decades as a teacher, but former Glenswilly NS principal Liam McGowan is still campaigning for better conditions for children.
In today’s Irish Times, Mr McGowan outlines the waste of money spent by successive Governments on prefabs.
This is his letter in full.
A chara, – As a recently retired principal with 38-plus years service, I fail to understand the financial reasoning behind the use of prefabs as long-term classrooms in schools. Ronan McNamara’s letter (March 15th) outlined the fact that the Department of education (the taxpayer) spends €110,000-plus in rent annually in his school. This, I bet, does not take into account the 5 per cent annually paid by the school, nor the site preparation, connection of services, fees, fire certs, delivery of prefab, planning, etc, which can eat up a further one-off €50,000 to €70,000 per prefab. Nor does it account for the extra ongoing heating and maintenance costs which must be borne by the school, which now does not have a minor works grant.
At the end of a decade of this total wastage, the department is still paying premium prices for old dilapidated prefabs, the school must still be built from scratch and the community is disheartened by the whole debacle. What size of a mortgage could the department have negotiated at the beginning of this arrangement? €2 million, €3 million? The pupils would be educated in a real school building and the costs would, in my view, be similar.
The construction industry would be happy to put a major plan in place to sort this out and countless jobs would be created, at little additional cost to the State. Of course, we have that problem with literacy and mathematics! – Yours, etc,
Letterkenny, Co Donegal.