Education Department spent 500,000 renting from Tanaiste’s Uncle

It has been revealed today that the Education Department has spent more than €500,000 renting a building from an uncle of the Tanaiste and Education Minister Mary Coughlan.

The Donegal Education Centre in Donegal town, one of only three such centres in the country that is being leased, has cost taxpayers €90,000 every year for the past six years.

According to today's Irish Independent the original lease was signed in 2004 with a company called Breslin Limited and will run until 2012.

The company is owned by Donegal businessman Dom Breslin and his son Michael Breslin, the uncle and cousin of Donegal South West TD Ms Coughlan.

Management at the centre is seeking a review of the annual rent with the Breslins.

Fine Gael's education spokesman Brian Hayes has called on Deputy Coughlan to build a long-promised permanent education centre in Donegal and stop paying €90,000 a year in rent.

A spokesman for Ms Coughlan said the centre's management and the landlord were involved in the negotiation of the lease.