The Government Action Plan for Education provides major opportunities for communities all over County Clare to make use of school buildings and resources for after-school child care and a range of locally-based activities.

That’s the view of Clare Fine Gael TD Joe Carey who said that the plan, announced  today (Thursday, September 15) by Education Minister Richard Bruton, will allow community groups and private providers to apply to use school facilities outside school hours.

“Schools are at the heart of their communities and are more successful the more they can collaborate with other organisations within the community. The Action Plan authorises the Department of Education to explore opportunities for the use of school buildings for after-school care and out-of-hours use to support local communities and make people’s lives better,” Deputy Carey said.

“This will allow all sections of the community to get added benefit from the significant investment in schools all over the county. It means that sports clubs, development groups and voluntary organisations will be able to access a valuable local resource.

“Despite the major restrictions on public spending, we have managed to finance the construction of new schools or major extensions in Ennis, Tulla, Sixmilebridge, Quin, Meelick, Clonlara, Killaloe, Ennistymon, Spanish Point and Shannon.

“We must utilise our primary school buildings for after-school care provision for school age children to offer more options and flexibility to parents. The new plan will link additional capitation to the provision of buildings for after school care, where demand exists,” he explained.

“This plan contains hundreds of actions to be implemented between now and 2026, with particular focus on disadvantage, skills, and continuous improvement within Irish education.

“I am pleased to see that there will be comprehensive monitoring of this plan so there will be an incentive to ensure that the recommendations are implemented as quickly and efficiently as possible. The Government will publish an updated annual Action Plan for Education at the beginning of each year, which will contain further actions to be implemented in that particular year.

Publication of quarterly implementation reports and continuous consultation with stakeholders and members of the Oireachtas will also be central to the process. I will be monitoring this plan closely to ensure that it delivers for County Clare,” Deputy Carey concluded.