A sum of €1.93 million was invested by the Department of Education in the provision of prefabricated classrooms in Mayo schools over the past three years, it has been disclosed. Education Minister Mary Coughlan revealed a total of 120 prefabs were rented in the county in 2010 and 2009 at an overall cost of €1,109,581. Exactly 112 of them were in respect of primary schools while just eight related to post primary schools.
A further 10 prefabricated structures were purchased for schools in Mayo in 2008, 2009 and 2010 in an overall investment of €819,000.
The minister said the overall policy goal of her department is to ensure the highest standard of permanent accommodation for all schools.
She stated: "In the context of a rapidly increasing school population and competing pressure on the capital budget available to my department, it is necessary to make use of temporary accommodation in order to meet the accommodation needs of schools.
"This temporary accommodation is suitable for use as classroom accommodation. It is important, when additional teacher posts are sanctioned by my department, that schools are facilitated to appoint and accommodate them as soon as possible.
"With regard to consideration being given to the provision of permanent structures to replace such buildings, a change in policy implemented by my department is to provide grand aid for the purchase, rather than rental, of additional accommodation where the need for such accommodation is likely to exist for more than three years.
"My department has engaged a specialist form to develop new procedures and systems for the provision of temporary accommodation with a view to achieving best value for money."