Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Government are intensifying educational apartheid

9 August, 2007

Speaking today Sinn Féin Senator Pearse Doherty called for the abolition of the yearly €80 million public subsidy of private schools and urged the Minister for Education Mary Hanafin to redirect this substantial amount of taxpayer's money towards assisting those parents who are struggling financially to cope with rising costs of putting their children through school.

The Donegal Senator said, "The fact that taxpayers are subsidising private elite schools to the tune of €80 million per annum is unacceptable. This government's educational policy is facilitating a two-tier educational system whereby the socio-economic background of a child's parents largely determines their educational and future employment options.

"Tax payers should not have to subsidise private schools while they struggle to cope with increasing educational costs for their children such as school books, equipment, travel and clothing. It is estimated that it costs €5,000 per year to send a child through school, with parents facing the majority of this financial burden. A further subsidisation of private schools by tax payers is absurd especially when one considers the high entrance fees and discriminatory policies that preclude the majority of children from attending them.

"Sinn Féin is passionate and committed to ensuring an education system based on inclusion and equality ensuring a full and fair education for all of this island's children. We demand the immediate cessation of this yearly €80 million public subsidy to elite private schools and for this money and extra resources to be dedicated to rolling out a national school book rental scheme and increasing state payments to parents to assist them in meeting the costs of clothing and footwear.

"The Government are intensifying educational apartheid with the public subsidisation of so-called elite private schools that exclusively cater for children from wealthy backgrounds. It seems they claim to cherish all of the children equally, but some more equally than others."


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