Crowe critical of Education Minister’s failure act on the cost of school uniforms
Sinn Féin Education Minister Seán Crowe has said the government must do more to ease the financial burden on parents when sending their children to school.
Deputy Crowe was speaking after confronting the Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn in the Dáil on the implementation of measures that would reduce the cost school uniforms.
Describing the cost of uniforms as “a racket”, Deputy Crowe said that school jumpers were costing €60-€70 when their true value was around €15. Parents, he continued, were paying €50-€60 for the right to wear a school crest.
“A 2011 survey of 1,000 people by the Irish League of Credit Unions (ILCU) found that on average, €400 will be spent annually on each individual child attending school. A significant percentage of the sum is spent on school uniforms.
“When I raised this matter with Minister Quinn I reminded him of his public commitments to help parents meet the cost of paying for school uniforms. He claims his ‘hands are tied’ and that he cannot intervene despite accepting that parents are paying too much for school uniforms.
“We are talking about relatively straightforward, sensible measures that would include standardising the design and colours of uniforms and providing an option for parents to sew on school crests. This would allow families the opportunity to shop around for better deals and not be forced to rely on a select number of retailers who can charge outrageous prices for uniforms.
“A further meeting is to take place in early September but any arrangements between school authorities and parents are unlikely to gain much.
“The Minister is showing a complete lack of any urgency in how he is addressing this matter. It is unacceptable that over a year after promising to take steps to reduce the cost of school uniforms, parents are now facing the usual outrageous costs of clothing their children for the new school year.”