August 27, 2021
So-called voluntary contributions crippling families – Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Education, Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD, has expressed his concern at the continuing practice of schools needing to rely on voluntary contributions to fund the basic necessities, which in turn places a significant financial strain on families.  

Teachta Ó Laoghaire said:

“In the next week, thousands of families will be getting ready for the return to school. With this, comes the annual requests for voluntary contributions.

“Year on year, families are being crippled by requests for contributions of very often well over €100 or €200 per child, and even €300-400.

“One family I spoke with was looking at almost €1,000 in voluntary contributions for their three children, that they would have to pull together in the next few weeks. 

“We know that in reality, these contributions are voluntary in name only. In some instances, students and families can be denied certain services and extra-curricular activities and they can face stigma.

“When added to the costs of uniforms, of school books and of school transport, this represents a very real and significant financial burden on families.

“This is happening because the Government doesn’t fund our schools properly and they are forced to fundraise and seek these contributions.

“It shouldn’t have to be this way. Schools shouldn’t be so underfunded, that they have to seek contributions and fundraise for basic things like keeping the lights and heating on. Sinn Féin wants to bring an end to the need for voluntary contributions. 

“We want to hear your experience with voluntary contributions – how much have you been asked for this year? Or even more generally regarding your family’s back to school costs. Get in touch at [email protected] or on social media, and tell us your story about the real costs of the return to school.”

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