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School buildings ‘cheaper to replace than repair’

Some rundown school buildings in Northern Ireland are costing more to maintain than it would cost to completely replace them, one of the teaching unions has claimed.

Brendan Harron, senior official with the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO), said: “Some schools have been waiting almost 10 years for a new build.

“Their hopes were raised when their building schemes were approved but this is then dashed when the building work is delayed for years.”

Mr Harron continued: “In some cases it is costing more to maintain crumbling buildings than it would cost to provide a new building.

“So many schools have been waiting so long and the bad news is that we know they will not all get the go-ahead.

“A decision must be taken soon so the schools know where they stand and can plan for this.”

When the Education Minister announced her building review in October she said it would be “swift and robust”.

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The minister, Caitriona Ruane, announced in March that four Irish-medium schools would be prioritised for either an upgrade to existing accommodation or new modular builds over the next 18 months.

They are Bunscoil Bheanna Boirche in Castlewellan, Scoil An Droichid in south Belfast, Gaelscoil Éanna in Glengormley, Gaelscoil Ghleann Darach in Crumlin and Gaelscoil na Speiríní in Londonderry.

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