€3 million overspend on two Cork schools

€3 million overspend on two Cork schools
Picture Dan Linehan

THERE was an overspend of almost €3 million on two Cork school projects, new figures have revealed.

Information obtained by Fianna Fail revealed that St Angela’s College Cork spent just over €13m on a project that was originally expected to cost around €11.4m, a difference of €1.6m.

Meanwhile, a project expected to cost €13.3m at Edmund Rice College in Carrigaline ended up costing more than €14.6m, a difference of €1.3m. Cork TD and Fianna Fáil spokesperson on finance, Michael McGrath requested information on any school project across Ireland that cost in excess of €10m.

Of the 15 major school building projects completed since 2010, all ended up costing more than the agreed tender price.

“Across these projects, the total amount paid was almost €12m more than the contracted price,” said Deputy McGrath.

“These figures show a clear pattern of projects costing more than the agreed contract price,” he added. “It is time for a root and branch review of how public capital projects are managed in this country.

“We need to know why so many projects end up costing taxpayers far more than planned and we need to stop this trend. I have forwarded all of these details to the Comptroller & Auditor General for consideration as part of his work in scrutinising public spending, and in particular, the way capital projects are managed.”

A statement from Adele Flynn, principal of ERC, said:

“The tenders and construction were overseen by the building unit of the Department of Education and Skills."

A spokesperson for the DES said: “A cost increase over and above the original estimate arose on the St. Angela’s College in Cork building project due to a very complicated site, at the top of Patrick’s Hill, with multiple listed buildings and significant changes in levels. Complications arose which were referred to an independent Conciliator under the Dispute Resolution measures of the Contract and the cost increase was recommended by the independent Conciliator and accepted by the Department.

“A cost increase occurred on the Edmund Rice College in Carrigaline project mainly from the costs of providing temporary accommodation on the site to allow the school to open in September 2016. The project had been tendered in parallel with the planning application for the school. When delays arose in the form of requests for further information from the local authority, it became necessary to provide temporary accommodation on site and this was added to the brief for the contractor after the project was tendered.”

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