Minister for Education and Skills must tackle rising school costs as a matter of priority - Ní Riada MEP
Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada has expressed concern at the rising cost of living across the island of Ireland in recent years and the impact it is having on families with children of school going age.
Speaking this week, Ms Ní Riada said,
"Ireland's cost of living has increased at an astounding rate in recent years and a survey from the European Commission in December 2015 found that the cost of living in Ireland is the sixth-highest in Europe.
"Although everyone is affected, families with children of school going age are feeling the pinch, particularly now as school tours and exam fees are prevalent.
"As a mother of 3 school aged girls, I am well aware of the challenges facing families all year round, but now there is an added financial pressure. School tours are a brilliant treat for the children, and usually a mix of education and fun however the stark reality is that there is a large number of families faced with the decision of paying the average €20 per child for the school tour, or putting food on the table.
"The cost of the Leaving Certificate (including Leaving Certificate Applied) is €116, whereas the Junior Certificate is €109, with the average cost of grinds being €30 per hour. For a family with one child sitting the Junior Certificate and one sitting the Leaving that is a foundation cost of €225, before grinds are even taken into consideration, not to mention the cost of daily lunches and school buses etc.
"Recently I raised the issue of the rising cost of motor insurance with the European Commission, which again is a contributing factor to the pressures felt by families and all sections of society, alike.
"This is something the Irish Government; in particular the new Minister for Education and Skills, must tackle as a matter of priority." ENDS