Written answers

Tuesday, 8 September 2020

Department of Education and Skills

Education and Training Boards

Photo of Gerald NashGerald Nash (Louth, Labour)
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486. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills further to Parliamentary Question No. 261 of 3 June 2020, the date of each meeting held during 2019 and to date in 2020 between officials from Louth Meath Education and Training Board and her Department regarding the head office building of LMETB in Drogheda, County Louth; the reason for requesting each meeting; the location of each meeting; the number of officials that attended from LMETB and her Department; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21213/20]

Norma Foley (Kerry, Fianna Fail)
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A meeting took place on 22ndJanuary 2019 in the Department’s offices in Tullamore which was attended by two officials from LMETB along with its design team as well as four officials from the Department. This was a further Stage 2B review meeting to discuss the issues set out in previous responses to the Deputy and followed on from previous meetings that had taken place to discuss these issues.

The issue was raised at further meetings in the context of the regular engagement between LMETB and officials from my Department to discuss issues with projects that have been devolved to LMETB for delivery. These meetings generally involved two LMETB and one or two officials from my Department and would have taken place, inter alia, on 1st May, 2019; 15th August, 2019 and 4th December, 2019. The Department and LMETB have also had a number of telephone conversations on the matter. The Department is in the process of arranging a further meeting with LMETB to discuss next steps in the progression of the project.

Photo of Gerald NashGerald Nash (Louth, Labour)
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487. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if approval has been given for the LMETB head office building in Drogheda, County Louth to proceed to construction after five years of delays; if not, the reason for the delay; the actions she has taken to address the issue; if her officials will be instructed to seek regular updates on the way in which the project is expedited; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21214/20]

Norma Foley (Kerry, Fianna Fail)
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As the Deputy will be aware, the project to which he refers has been devolved for delivery to the local Education and Training Board (LMETB).

A number of design issues have arisen with this project. These have included issues relating to the need for additional security features for the proposed building that became apparent at tender stage and which required a change in brief with consequent design alterations. Currently, the capacity of the building, and the number of staff it is required to accommodate is being reviewed to ensure it meets the needs of LMETB into the future.

I can assure the Deputy that every effort to progress the project has been made and will continue to be made. A number of meetings between officials from my Department and LMETB and its design team, with a view to addressing the relevant issues, have taken place. However, it is still too early at this stage to give a commencement date for construction.

Photo of Gerald NashGerald Nash (Louth, Labour)
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488. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if the use by LMETB of former Meath County Council offices in Navan has been approved by her Department; the annual cost of the use by LMETB of the offices; if the expenditure has been approved by her Department; the budget from which LMETB will pay for the use of the building; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21215/20]

Norma Foley (Kerry, Fianna Fail)
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I can inform the Deputy that Louth and Meath Education and Training Board (LMETB) have a licence agreement in place to use the former County Council premises in Navan Co. Meath for Further Education & Training (FET) services. The agreement was approved by LMETB board on 21st June 2018. This was sanctioned by my Department based on a cost of €120,000 per annum and is funded from their SOLAS budget.

This premises is used solely as a FET centre and provides an important service to the people of Navan and the surrounding areas for their education and training needs through a range of programmes such as the Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme, Back to Education Initiative and adult education programmes.

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