Department’s “total wastage” on school prefabs - former Glenswilly N.S. Principal

A former school principal in Donegal has cited what he called the “total wastage” of paying premium places for “old dilapidated prefabs” at schools throughout the country.

A former school principal in Donegal has cited what he called the “total wastage” of paying premium places for “old dilapidated prefabs” at schools throughout the country.

Liam McGowan, who recently retired from his role at Glenswilly National School, said he failed to understand the financial reasoning behind the use of prefabs as long-term classrooms.

In a letter to Tuesday’s ‘Irish Times’ newspaper, he referred to the annual rent paid by the Department of Education in this respect which, he claimed, did not take into account the 5% annually paid by the school or the site preparation, connection of services, fees, fire certs, delivery of prefabs and planning which could eat up a further one-off 50,000 euro to 70,000 euro per prefab.

“Nor does it account for the extra ongoing heating and maintenance costs which must be borne by the school, which now does not have a minor works grant.

“At the end of a decade of this total wastage, the department is still paying premium prices for old dilapidated prefabs, the school must still be built from scratch and the community is disheartened by the whole debacle,” insisted Mr. McGowan.

What size of a mortgage could the department have negotiated at the beginning of this arrangement, he demanded, two million euro, three million euro? “The pupils would be educated in a real school building and the costs would, in my view, be similar.

“The construction industry would be happy to put a major plan in place to sort this out and countless jobs would be created, at little additional cost to the State. Of course, we have that problem with literacy and mathematics!,” the former Glenswilly Principal added.