Sinn Féin spokesperson on Education, Sorca Clarke TD, has called on the government to do more to support families struggling with back-to-school costs.
Her comments follow the publication of the results of a survey by the Irish League Of Credit Unions into the financial pressures parents are facing over their children’s education.
Speaking today, Teachta Clarke said:
“Back-to-school costs are putting huge pressure on families. School transport, books, uniforms and voluntary contributions can add up to hundreds or even thousands of Euros for families.
“These costs are unaffordable and this is particularly the case as families face the cost of living crisis.
“This survey by the Irish League Of Credit Unions highlights the huge pressures families are under.
“The results find that a third of families are unable to buy new shoes for their children when they go back to school in September. The figures also show that 72 per cent of parents are finding back to school costs to be a financial burden this year compared to 66 per cent in 2022.
“Families need a break from back-to-school costs now. Government must act to ensure that families get this support urgently, as September is approaching quickly.
“Sinn Féin have a plan to cut back-to-school costs and to end this financial pressure on families. We would introduce affordable school uniforms, expand the school transport scheme, ensure every child has access to a hot meal in school and stop families being pressured into paying voluntary contributions.
“In 2021, my colleagues Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire and Matt Carthy introduced legislation that would prevent families being pressured to pay these voluntary contributions. The government did not oppose the Bill but have failed to act on it.
“It has been two years since Sinn Féin brought forward our legislation, but the government has sat on its hands. I am urging the government to end the delay and enact Sinn Féin’s legislation immediately. If not, they need to come forward with their own solutions.
“Sinn Féin would ensure families get a break from back-to-school costs now.”