Dundalk Sinn Féin took to the streets today in along with Cllr Ruairi Ó Murchú to highlight ‘Back to School’ costs.
Local activist Eugene Garvey, a father of two, said “Education is a fundamental right for everyone and should be free and accessible to all but the current cost is an ever increasing burden on ordinary families with costs running at an all-time high.”
It is estimated that over 20% of parents need to take out loans to pay for their children’s school essentials.
Eugene Garvey pointed out that “the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance is a great help but falls short of what parents need. Sinn Féin is proposing an extra €50 to this grant which would help. We also need to look at expanding the Book Rental Scheme to ensure that all schools participate in it and help alleviate the burden on families.”
Currently only 65% of schools use a Book Rental Scheme.
On average schools get state funding of around €46,000 a year for operating costs, however, average bills actually total €91,000.
Eugene Garvey said “The shortfall of the school state funding has to be found be it in the form of fundraising throughout the school year or having to contribute directly to the school, and this is on top of the cost of sending a child to secondary school costing an average of €1,500 per year. It is too much for parents and that is why I am here today, to raise awareness and let other parents know that they are not alone in their struggle, Sinn Féin are on their side and have a list of proposals to help alleviate this burden.”
For more details on Sinn Fein proposals on Back to Schools costs and other policies please visit sinnfein.ie