Friday, February 1, 2013


CUTS TO MINOR WORKS GRANTS A FURTHER BLOW TO SCHOOLS - Deputy Jonathan O'Brien 31 Jan 2013 Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson has said the government’s decision to suspend the Minor Work’s Grant for primary schools was causing significant difficulties that would only get worse in the time ahead.. The Cork North Central TD was speaking after raising the matter recently with Education Minister Ruairí where he referred to the views expressed by the Irish Primary Principal's Network (IPPN) who have described the Minor Works Grant as a “lifesaver” for schools that use the payment to carryout essential repairs during the winter months. He continued: “By the Minister’s own admission, in 2011 3,248 schools throughout the country received funding under the scheme and its suspension in 2012 has had a serious impact on schools that are struggling to find the resources to pay for essential maintenance. “The loss of this funding lifeline is having the most serious impact on smaller schools that greatly rely on this grant to maintain buildings and classrooms which will fall into a greater state of disrepair as a result of minor problems becoming more serious over time. “This grant was an essential source of funding for schools because it made a significant difference in ensuring schools could carry out essential maintenance at a very difficult time of the year. “It also provided essential employment for small builders who could find employment with schools on jobs that didn't cost a fortune and where they were guaranteed payment. Schools were also allowed a certain amount of discretion as to how the money was spent and it was mainly bureaucracy-free meaning money could be found quickly when needed to pay for repairs. “The cuts in funding must also be seen in light of the increasing financial pressures that are being placed on parents who are being asked for voluntary contributions to make up for the funding shortfalls. “Ultimately, it is the education of our children that will suffer and in the past year we have read alarming reports of schools asking parents to provide their own toilet rolls and dress their children with additional clothes because they are having to sit in cold heated classrooms.”

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