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Parents being crippled by Back to School costs – Ó Laoghaire

16 July, 2019 - by Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD

Sinn Féin Education spokesperson Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD has said that “the Government has sat on their hands and let families pick up the tab for their lack of investment in education.”

Teachta Ó Laoghaire was commenting after the release of the survey by the Irish League of Credit Unions which found that 78% of parents were struggling financially with Back to School costs, and that 36% were falling in to debt due to it.

The Cork South-Central TD said:

“The cost of back to school makes the summer months an extremely difficult time financially for many families. Many parents, who might already be at the pin of their collar, are forced into sizeable debt just so they can send their children to school.

“Many families get little to no support and yet they have to fork out €950 to get their children ready for primary school, and €1,400 to send them to secondary school.

“Free Education is a myth if you look at these numbers. Many families simply have to go without. Two thirds of parents have to decide that a child does not participate in some extracurricular activities so that they can cover costs, and a third of them won’t be able to afford school trips.

“For all the rhetoric of the Government, they are letting down many hard working families, by failing to get to grips with the soaring costs of school.

“A third of families fall in to debt over this period, including 24% who go to moneylenders through sheer desperation, despite charging interests rates that are through the roof, putting families under even more financial pressure.

“This is part of the growing cost of living crisis in this country, underfunded public services requiring citizens to cough up more.

“Government has sat on their hands and let families pick up the tab for their lack of investment, despite reports after report from Oireachtas Committees and Charities.

“They need to radically expand the Back to Education Scheme, to increase substantially funding for the Schools Books scheme, ensure that schools are properly funded to limit ‘voluntary contributions’, and we need clearer rules to ensure use of generic uniforms, and more use of Book Rental Schemes.

“Sinn Féin have consistently put forward Budget packages to alleviate the burden placed on families by back to school costs and will be pushing in the upcoming Budget for measures to get to grips with ever-increasing back to education costs.” 

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