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Reality of back to school costs exposes the myth of free education - Liadh Ní Riada MEP

24 August, 2015 - by Liadh Ní Riada MEP

Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada has said that the rising costs of sending children back to school has exposed the myth of free education in this state.

Ní Riada stated that the government seem oblivious to the very real hardship that costs create for families at this time of the year and she pointed to recent cuts to lone parents allowance as an additional pressure point this autumn.

She said;

“The frightening costs of sending children back to school shouldn't be treated simply as something topical to talk about every time august comes about. The reality is that it creates very real hardship, stress and financial pressures for families who are already struggling to pay bills and put food on the table. The government seem oblivious to it.  In a real republic, back to school time would not come with such burdens. The situation, which worsens every year, certainly exposes the myth of free education.

“Many parents are getting into debt in order to meet the costs, while at the same time they are being asked to increase their voluntary contributions to schools that struggling to survive because of government imposed cutbacks. It seems to me that Fine Gael and the Labour Party wants the state to wash its hands of the responsibility for providing education and they want parents to foot the costs of this divestment.

“Lone parents must be finding this year particularly difficult given the further cut to the lone parent allowance that was introduced this summer. The shocking reality is that back to school costs could well be the expense that will push many families across the poverty threshold. It is unacceptable and it is a telling indictment of this government’s social policy.

“School must be affordable. Everybody must have equal access to education. The current costs of sending kids back to school creates a major barrier to achieving this aim. The government needs to wake up to the nightmare that parents are facing at this time of year.”

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