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Back to School Costs crippling families – Ó Laoghaire

17 August, 2016 - by Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD

Sinn Féin TD Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire this morning highlighted the crippling costs to families that have children starting or returning to school this coming September. 

The Cork South Central TD said:

“The costs of sending a child back to school are at the point of being extortion on the state’s behalf. It is estimated that back to school can incur expenses ranging from €340 for a child in senior infants to €775 for a child embarking on their first year of second level education.

“This results in significant pressure being placed on families who are already at the pin of their collars when it comes to meeting bills, with some struggling to put food on the table. In a country where free education is enshrined in our constitution, this raises some concerns.

“We aspire to live in a state that presents our children with an education system that is equal in terms of access, opportunity and outcomes. However, this is a far cry from the reality experienced by many children. We, as legislators, must ensure that this becomes more than an aspiration and closer to that promise which was penned by the authors of our constitution.

“I’ve met with both Barnardos and Saint Vincent de Paul this week and they echoed many of my own concerns that I mentioned above. The cost of making our education system free in every sense of the word for both primary and secondary students is estimated to be in the region of €100 million. A nominal figure when looked at in the context of the annual Departmental budget.

“In my opinion, investment in our education system, an investment in our next generation, should certainly be prioritised above tax cuts for the wealthy in the Governments budget this coming October.” 

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