I welcome the commitment of the Minister for Education Joe McHugh, that the extension to Coláiste an Chraoibhín will be open for the new school year.
There are flaws in the tendering process that led to this debacle. I was a member of the Board of Management of Coláiste an Chraoibhín when the contract for the extension was awarded in 2015. I did not expect that we would be waiting four years for the extension to be finished. These four years has been a testing time for everyone involved in Coláiste an Chraoibhín. It is good that the commitment has been made, but lessons must be learned by the Department of Education.
There is a long-term plan for investment in educational buildings and facilities under the government capital infrastructure plan Project Ireland 2040. There is a commitment that over €8 billion will be spent on schools, PE halls, and science labs, along with the elimination of prefabs as classrooms. It needs to be ensured that the works undertaken are done on time and within the tendered price. We cannot have time delays and cost overruns like that experienced in Coláiste an Chraoibhín. It simply is not good enough to accept such standards.
I have raised this issue with Joe McHugh and with Paschal Donohoe. I will be raising it again as Fine Gael put forward a set of policies for the next general election. We must learn from past experiences, and we must ensure that any investment in the future provides the infrastructure that we have been promised.