Sinn Féin will make free education a reality – Ó Snodaigh
Sinn Féin TD and General Election candidate for Dublin South Central Aengus Ó Snodaigh has today launched the party’s proposals for a return to free education.
Speaking from the Department of Education Ó Snodaigh said:
“The Fianna Fáil/Green Government has been engaged in a full frontal attack on our education services over the past number of years. Capital funding has been cut, the pupil teacher ratio has increased, funding for special needs and combating educational disadvantage has been cut, student registration fees have gone up and the administration of the back to school allowance has become a farce.
“Fianna Fáil continually talks about the knowledge economy while at the same time it has been busy decimating our education system. That is a disgrace and needs to be challenged. It should be brought to the attention of every Fianna Fáil canvasser in this election.
“Free education in this state is a myth. The cost of education has increased exponentially year on year with experts indicating the cost of educating a child from junior infants through to third level to be in and around €70,000.
“Every September is a struggle for parents to come up with the money needed to send children back to school. Added up, the cost of books, uniforms and transport reaches into the hundreds and often thousands.
“Sinn Féin is committed to making free education a reality.
“Article 42.4 of the 1937 Constitution states ‘The State shall provide for free primary education’. That obligation is not being upheld.
“A return to free education has to be a cornerstone of building a better Ireland. We have to recognise that education is key to economic recovery and enabling every child to reach their potential.
“Sinn Féin is proposing 6 simple steps to free education including opposing third level fees, increasing the school capitation grant and establishing a book lending scheme.
“In our 2011 pre-budget submission Sinn Féin showed how we fund our public services such as education in a way that is fair including asking those who have more to pay more. We have shown that public services such as education can be spared from cuts.
“We have shown how investing in services such as education will pay dividends and ultimately in the long run will end up saving the state money.
“We can make free education a reality if the political will is there. Sinn Féin has that will and, if elected to government will follow through on our commitment to protect and invest in our education system.”