Government ministers have deliberately under spent their allocation from last December’s budget in order to maintain a slush fund for year end announcements.
This is the view of Independent Galway county councillor Tom Welby, who said he is “utterly amazed” that there is currently an underspend in the Department of Education’s Capital Budget for School Construction.
“The announcement by the Department of Finance that €331 million has still not been allocated from the budget will come as a shock to parents and board of management around the country,” he said.
According to Cllr Welby, construction industry sources calculate that this money could sustain some 12,000 jobs. The current rules in relation to any under spend are that the Department would be allowed to retain 10 per cent of the money unspent.
Cllr Welby feels that ministers have “deliberately underspent their allocation” from the last budget in order to maintain “a slush fund for year end announcements”.
“There is a huge pot of money lying in the Department of Education and I expect my request for funding for a new 16 room school in Oughterard to be automatically allocated,” he said. “This money could give badly needed local employment and also substantially improve the conditions for our school children and as such this underspend is nothing short of criminal.”