May 30, 2023
Government must enact Sinn Féin legislation to end voluntary contribution pressure – Sorca Clarke TD

Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Education, Sorca Clarke TD, has urged the government to act urgently to protect families from crippling school costs.

Her comments follow publication of a report by St Vincent De Paul, that details how some parents feel forced to take out loans or get help from charities to cover the costs.

Speaking today, Teachta Clarke said:

“Today’s report from St Vincent De Paul makes for highly concerning reading. It is clear that families are under huge pressure from school costs. The price of uniforms, tablets and devices, books and transport can be crippling. On top of these, schools are asking families to pay hundreds of Euros in voluntary contributions as well.

“Parents’ money cannot stretch that far and they are under real pressure. This is causing huge stress for families already struggling with a cost of living crisis.

“In 2021, my colleagues Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire and Matt Carthy introduced legislation that would prevent families being pressured to pay these costs. The government did not oppose the Bill but have failed to act upon it.

“Sinn Féin are also calling on the government to fund the education system properly, so that schools do not feel the need to fundraise to cover basic costs.

“Let’s be clear, the reason why schools feel put in this position is because of the government’s failure to invest in schools. The government needs to ensure that schools have adequate funding, instead of expecting the buck to be passed on to parents when schools’ funding falls short.

“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. Families are worried about the return to school fast approaching. They need help now.”

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