Pa Daly, Sinn Féin TD for Kerry, has called on Minister Norma Foley and the Department of Education to urgently review the tendering criteria for school buildings and to ensure that local builders have an opportunity to submit tenders.
Gaelcholáiste Chiarraí Site
Kerry County Council signed over the site for Gaelcholáiste Chiarraí to the Kerry Education and Training Board in March 2016.
The school is expected to cater for over 600 students and feature 25 general classrooms, specialist classrooms, a library, multimedia labs, canteen and dining areas, a sports hall and the cultúrlann performance area.
Project Still at Stage 2B
“The Department of Education approved the building which progressed to Stage 2 of the process in May 2018 and, a year later, the then Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh turned the first sod on the site. The project remains at Stage 2B of the process,” said Deputy Daly.
“Departmental guidelines state that only those companies turning a profit of more than €19m per annum for the past three years are eligible to submit tenders.
Kerry Builders Shuttered Out
“As a result, a number of otherwise qualified builders in Kerry are completely shut out of the process.
“Earlier this year, I called on the Department of Education to change the tendering process, but unfortunately nothing has changed.
“We were subsequently told that the pre-tender documents were not being considered due to the Covid-19 pandemic and, now that we are in the process of re-opening, I am calling on Minister Foley to intervene and review the criteria.
Local Economy Decimated
“Our local economy has been decimated due to Covid-19, and we must afford local companies and workers every possible opportunity to submit tenders for this work.
“Gaelcholáiste Chiarraí is widely anticipated, and much was made of the official sod turning ceremony in the run-up to the local elections in May 2019, however we are no closer to seeing completion of the facility than we were at that time,” said Deputy Daly in conclusion.