Fianna Fáil TD for Longford-Westmeath, Robert Troy, says he is alarmed by reports that the Department of Education is withholding information from schools which have applied for funding under the Summer Works Scheme.
The Summer Works Scheme provides funding for vital building projects such as electrical works, window repairs, new toilet facilities, roof works, and other structural improvements.
Deputy Troy said: “In recent days, I have been contacted by a growing number of school principals who are concerned by the lack of information available from the Department of Education in relation to the Summer Works Scheme. One principal has been advised by the Department that no decision in relation to applications will be made until the appointment of a new Minister for Education.
“This is deeply concerning. There is an Acting Minister for Education in place who is able to sign off on the Summer Works Scheme. Schools cannot afford to wait for another few weeks before they learn whether their application has been successful or not. Arrangements need to be made now regarding the hiring of contractors to carry out works under the scheme.
“We are approaching the end of April. There is only a matter of weeks before schools finish for the summer. The risk is increasing that there will not be enough time for schools to make necessary arrangements for works to be carried out under the scheme should their application be successful. It’s ridiculous that the Government is putting an entire summer's worth of works at risk."
Deputy Troy is calling on the Acting Minister for Education, Jan O’Sullivan, to instruct her Department officials to sign off on the applications under the Summer Works Scheme so that successful applicants can make necessary arrangements for the coming months.