The predicted cost to the public purse of the St Mary’s and St Cecilia’s new schools - both recently constructed under a public private finance arrangement - has risen by £17m, according to the latest annual unitary charge.
The Roman Catholic Derry Dioceses Project in 2008 entered a Private Finance Initiative (PFI) with private sector providers and a Public Private Partnership (PPP) operator to build the schools, with the contract becoming operational in 2010.
In December 2009 the former Education Minister Caitríona Ruane confirmed that a £146m unitary charge will be payable to the PPP operator over the lifetime of the 25 year contract.
But according to calculations based on the latest unitary payment of £6.38m, the overall cost of the project has been adjusted upwards to £163m.
Education Minister John O’Dowd said: “There are two schools in the Foyle Constituency, St Cecilia’s College and St Mary’s College, which are currently subject to Public Private Partnership (PPP) contracts.
“Together the schools form the Derry Diocese PPP project.”
He explained that there are 22 years remaining on the contract.
“The total cost to the public purse of this project is £163m over the 25 years of the project,” he confirmed.