Three Galway schools are to benefit from major improvement works after it was announced that the European Investment Bank has formally agreed to provide €100 million to the Irish Government for capital investment in schools across the country over the next two years.
The initiative, which was launched in Dublin by Ruairí Quinn, Minister for Education and Skills, and European Investment Bank president, Werner Hoyer, will involve the building of more than 550 new classrooms, as well as modernisation and construction works in 35 primary and 12 secondary schools. The funding will form part of the Government’s €219 million school expansion programme to be managed by the Department of Education and Skills.
Three Galway schools have so far been named among the many across Ireland to benefit from the funding. These include: Oughterard National School, Tirellan Heights National School on the Headford Road, and Coláiste Iognáid on Sea Road.
Speaking at the launch Minister Quinn said: "The funding to be provided by the EIB will support the implementation of the five year construction programme which I announced earlier this year. The long-term loan provides a more efficient and cost effective means of funding this programme than would otherwise be possible. It is a very welcome development and is good news for the taxpayer, not to mention pupils and teachers across the nation."
“Without a good education, Europe’s children will not be able to compete in a global economy. This new funding, to provide thousands of new places in Irish schools, will directly benefit children across Ireland and improve the quality of their education. The European Investment Bank is pleased to work closely with the Department of Education and Skills to address the pressing need to increase school capacity in Ireland to match increased pupil numbers,” said EIB president Mr Hoyer.
The funding is designed to improve teaching conditions and provide new facilities for an estimated 15,500 primary pupils and 6,650 secondary students nationwide. It will also focus on ensuring that additional enrolment capacity is provided in areas of rapid population growth based on projections by the Department of Education’s forward planing section. Construction supported by the initiative began last January and are expected to be completed by December 2014.