Unlike last week, the Northern Ireland Education Minister, Sinn Féin’s Caitriona Ruane, was on time today to make a statement to the Assembly on the review of her department’s programme of capital building schemes. But, as the BBC reports, the statement was somewhat lacking in detail
The minister told the assembly that she has made decisions on which of the 69 schools are to get the go ahead for new buildings.
She said most have been approved, some have been told to do extra work with the possibility of being approved, and some have been turned down.
However the minister refused to divulge the list of schools affected.
Ms Ruane said she would write out to schools individually to tell them their fate.
Assembly members complained that she had not shown them the full criteria for deciding which schools had been approved for funding.
And, the UTV report suggests, even those approved may not get built for some time
If all of the plans were given the go-ahead it could cost around five hundred million pounds, but according to the minister the money is simply not there.
“The reality is with the reduced capital budget allocation available to me we are over committed to over spend and these projects will be delayed,” she said.
“If additional funds are not allocated to Department of Education for capital build projects then I fear a delay on commencing these schools for some months is inevitable.
“We simply cannot build schools without the money.”