Dáil debates

Tuesday, 24 October 2006

9:00 pm

Photo of Conor LenihanConor Lenihan (Minister of State, Department of Foreign Affairs; Dublin South West, Fianna Fail)

I thank the Deputy for affording me the opportunity of outlining to the House the position of the Department of Education and Science regarding Dromore West Central national school, Dromore West, County Sligo.

The building project for Dromore West Central national school was one of a number of schools that the Department of Education and Science announced in 2005 to progress through architectural planning. This project is at stage 3, developed sketch scheme, of architectural planning. The brief on the project is to provide adequate accommodation for a principal plus four classroom teachers with the possibility of future expansion. It has not yet been decided whether this accommodation will be provided by means of an extension to the current school or a new school building.

A letter issued to the board of management in May 2006 requesting additional stage 3 information. This information was submitted by the board of management in August 2006. The stage 3 submission received in the Department deviated from the agreed brief for the building project and consequently the Department wrote to the board of management seeking a revised stage 3 in accordance with the agreed brief. When the revised stage 3 submission is received in the Department, a meeting will be convened which will involve the board of management representative and the design team presenting the submission, outlining key aspects of same. Any issues or commentary by the Department will be addressed at the meeting.

The minutes of the meeting will issue to the school afterwards as a formal record of the meeting. It is envisaged that unless there are very exceptional circumstances involved, the meeting will be sufficient to authorise the project to progress to the next stage of architectural planning subject, if necessary, to formal receipt of confirmation by the school from the design team that issues raised by the Department have been addressed.

The design and planning of the project is covered by stages 1 to 5, during which the project is developed from the assessment of site suitability, through the detailed design, including the obtaining of planning permission, to the point where detailed bills of quantities are prepared. In the case of all large capital projects currently on hands, progression of projects to construction will be considered in the context of the school building and modernisation programme 2006-2009.

I thank Deputy Devins for raising the matter. I know he has the interests of constituents and parents in mind when he addresses this matter. I thank him for his sustained interest on my own behalf and that of the Minister for Education and Science.

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