Dear Minister….

by PTAadmin on February 23, 2017

As agreed at the last PTA meeting we wrote to the Minister for Education and Skills and our local TDs to get an update and push for progress on the new schools project. Below is the text of our letter and the response from the Minister. I’d like to thank our local TDs who raised Parliamentary Questions with Minster. The responses to those questions are consistent with the letter below.

Letter from the PTA to the Minister:

Dear Minister Bruton,

We represent the parents and guardians of the students currently attending Maynooth Post Primary School and Maynooth Community College.

We would refer you to the timeline for delivery of the new education campus in Maynooth and in particular to the fact that December 2016 was the date given on that timeline for the letter of intent to contractor to be issued.

It is now the middle of February 2017 and this letter of intent does not appear to have been issued.

This means that the timeline for delivery of the project has now slipped by two months and two weeks.

When you  took over the Ministerial Post you made assurances to the people of Maynooth that the delays that occurred under the previous Minister would not happen on this second round of the project tender stage.

We need assurance as a matter of urgency that following the submission of the report to your Department by the design team a letter of intent to the successful contractor will be issued forthwith.

The town as a whole cannot and will not accept any further delay in this project as our children are being deprived of a promised new education facility.

We would be obliged to hear back from you immediately with an explanation for the delay and confirmation that the letter of intent will be issued and that there will be no further slippage in the timeline which your department produced .

Yours sincerely,

Laura Delaney
Secretary MEC PTA

Response from the Minister:

Dear Ms. Delaney,

Thank you for your recent correspondence to the Minister for Education and Skills, Mr. Richard Bruton TD in relation to the Maynooth post-primary school campus project.

As you know, this project is being delivered by Kildare and Wicklow Education and Training Board (KWETB).  When the Department and the KWETB gave a timeline for the project, they were very careful to stress that this was an  indicative timeframe only.  Unforeseen issues can and do arise as school building projects move through the various stages involved in bringing them to site.  This is why the Department, or any agencies delivering projects on its behalf, cannot be precise or definitive about timelines.  In this case, given the scale and complexity of the project, a number of the pre-qualified contractors sought an extension of time within which to lodge tenders.  This was granted in the interests of a competitive tendering process to ensure best value for tax payer money.

However, the Minister is pleased to be able to inform you that the tendering process has been completed and KWETB has filed the Tender Report with the Department.  A comprehensive examination of the Report has been completed by the Department’s Professional and Technical staff.  Currently, matters are in hand to complete the necessary Financial Robustness element of the process and to update the Cost Benefit Analysis Report with the tender figures for the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.  A Letter of Intent to the preferred bidder can issue as soon as these requirements under Public Procurement Procedures have been met and assuming that no issues arise from them.

In the meantime, considerable work has been carried out by KWETB to resolve other outstanding issues with the project to ensure that it can go to site as soon as the requirements under the Letter of Intent are met.  An example of this work is reaching agreement with the local authority on capital contributions for works extraneous to the site in lieu of carrying out those works as part of the contract.  This was a complex matter in its own right.

In tandem with progressing the building project, the Department , the KWETB and the schools have worked together to identify and meet the schools’ accommodation needs pending the delivery of the new buildings.  Over the Summer, a significant capital investment was been made by the Department to meet those needs.

The assurances the Minister gave in relation to the Department’s commitment to this project remain.  The Minister confirms again that funding has been earmarked for it. Furthermore, the Minister is satisfied that the due diligence necessary to comply with Public Procurements Procedures for the largest single school infrastructure project planned for the country, have been carried out in as timely a manner as possible.  This work now places the Department to be able to give approval for a Letter of Intent to issue as soon as the  Financial Robustness and Cost Benefit Analysis pieces have been completed, again, assuming that no issues arise on foot of these.

I hope this information is helpful,

Yours sincerely

Private Secretary

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