Declan Breathnach TD
Louth (and East Meath)

9th August, 2018

Increasing School Costs putting families under severe financial strain – Breathnach

– Voluntary contributions account for between 17% and 25% of back to school costs –

Fianna Fáil TD for Louth and East Meath Declan Breathnach has said that families of all types are under severe financial pressure in the run up to schools coming next month.

Deputy Breathnach was commenting as a new report from Barnardos shows yet again that the cost of sending a child to primary or secondary school has increased in 2018.

“With the average cost of sending a child back to 4th class now at €360, and €765 for a 1st year secondary student, going back to school is a stressful time for all families In particular, for those on fixed incomes such as social protection payments, the stress and strain these costs put on family life is becoming unbearable.

“Families being forced to cut back on day to day spending or, worse, taking out short term, high interest loans cannot be tolerated any longer. The stress and strain it places on parents is just so unfair. The Back to School Allowance from the Department goes nowhere near close to meeting the financial demands being placed on families.

“Any increases in social protection payments gained in the past two years have been wiped out by these rises in basic costs for families.

“What is very disturbing is the high proportion of back to school costs that arise from so called voluntary contributions. Parents are put under severe pressure to pay these fees by schools because the capitation grants they receive from the Department of Education have not increased in years despite commitments by Fine Gael in their Programme for Government.

“Children continue to be the age group in Irish society most exposed to poverty and deprivation. One in nine (11.1%) are in consistent poverty while a quarter of all children of experience deprivation and are going without basic necessities.

“Crippling school costs are further exacerbating the pressure families of all types are facing. Parents should never be forced to choose between skipping meals or paying for their child’s books and uniforms,” concluded Breathnach.

-Ends-

Johanna Walsh, Office of Declan Breathnach T.D., Leinster House, Dublin 2 (Declan – 087 2697638)

(T) 01 6183549 (Email) declan.breathnach@oireachtas.ie