School building projects need to be approved

THE construction of school buildings needs to be made a priority, according to a local MLA.

SDLP Upper Bann representative Dolores Kelly called on Education Minister John O’Dowd to be pro-active in implementing school building projects, given an increase in educational funding.

She said, “With the North’s construction industry on its knees, more needs to be done to ensure that Minister O’Dowd clears up the mess made by his predecessor regarding schools capital projects.

“I know of several schools in my constituency who have had re-build or new-build projects approved but which are not “shovel-ready” because of foot-dragging by the Department.

“As he has revealed £120m of extra funding over the next three years, and as construction industry chiefs met with Executive ministers to discuss the future of their industry, the time for implementing these school-based projects has come and I call on the Minister to implement those projects which have been deemed viable in as expeditious a manner as possible.”