Donegal TD Charlie McConalogue has called on the Minister for Education to ensure that funding is approved for the Summer Works Scheme for 2017.
He says the current situation, whereby schools cannot submit an application to the Department is deeply unfair.
The Summer Works Scheme gives schools the opportunity to compete for grants for roof repairs, electrical and heating upgrades, window replacements, and other jobs which are carried out over the summer holidays.
In a response to a recent parliamentary question from Deputy McConalogue, Minister Bruton confirmed that the scheme is closed to new applicants.
“The Summer Works Scheme is an extremely important programme, providing essential funding to schools to carry out repair and upgrade works. If the scheme is not rolled out this year, it will have very serious implications for school budgets and will most likely result in parents having to fork out for essential buildings and maintenance work. This is what has happened in the past”, explained Deputy McConalogue.
“The Minister claims the current scheme, which was announced in late 2015, is being applied on a multi-annual basis for 2016 and 2017. This is a very unfair situation for schools to find themselves in. If they had of been made aware in 2015 that this was the route the Department was going to go down then all schools could have made an application for funding at that time.”
He added that this decision was made by the Department after the event and now schools which didn’t apply for funding in 2015 are paying the price, with fundraising events and voluntary contributions being relied on to cover the cost of essential works, which should be paid for by the State.
“This cannot continue – I am calling on the Minister to realise the value of this important programme to schools across the country and to reopen the Summer Works Scheme for 2017”, concluded Deputy McConalogue.Tags: