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Free Education evaporating - Crowe

11 October, 2006

Sinn Féin Education spokesperson Seán Crowe TD has said this state's free education is slowly evaporating -- if it ever really existed. Deputy Crowe had asked the Minister for Education Mary Hanafin for her proposals to address the increasing costs faced by parents sending their kids to school after receiving reports that some schools are increasing so called 'registration fees' in view of increased lighting, heating, refurbishment and equipment costs not to mention bin charges, which cost one school an estimated €2,500 last year.

He said, "Some parents are being asked to fork out over €100 for such costs. This is on top of rising school textbook fees, uniform and footwear costs, gym wear and PE costs, cost of school trips -- the list is endless. The fact that parents of schoolchildren face such added general costs makes a mockery of the claim of this state providing free education. Free education in this state is slowly evaporating -- if it ever really existed.

"Sinn Féin supports increasing the Back to School Footwear and Clothing allowance to reflect the true costs of sending kids to school in addition to abolishing bin charges immediately for schools. The financial burden for parents is enough without cash-strapped schools being compelled to ask for 'contributions' due to underfunding from the state." Críoch

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