Donegal County Councillor Marie-Therese Gallagher has reacted to the recent St Vincent de Paul report on Back to School costs by saying that the report’s findings clearly show that not enough is being done by government to support parents to meet the costs of sending their children to school.
Cllr Gallagher said: “Education is a fundamental human right and must be accessible to all irrespective of their economic or social background.
“Yet, despite this, families of children of school going age continue to struggle to cover the costs of education.
“The recent SVP report published this week has found a 20% increase in calls for Back to School assistance.
“This is evidence if ever it was needed that the government is failing families that are struggling to ensure their children receive a high quality education.
“SVP, Barnardos, and the Irish League of Credit Unions have all released reports this summer that lead to similar conclusions.
“I myself have spoken to parents locally and throughout Donegal each of whom share a similar story while stating that the cost associated with sending their children to school is hugely burdensome on a family’s finances.
“And while costs are spiraling, the fact that existing supports such as the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance are not being paid on time, as has been the case in so many households this year, is only causing further suffering to parents as school terms resume.
“Sinn Féin has consistently shown how government could improve and bolster existing state supports, while we’ve also sought rates for school capitation to be enhanced.
“Similarly, we’ve shown how contribution levies could be eliminated, yet government has continued to ignore these proposals, meanwhile children and families continue to bare the burden of the excessive cost of education.”
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