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23/09/2021

'Voluntary in name only' school donations cripple families - Laois TD

'Voluntary in name only' school donations cripple families says Laois TD

Voluntary contributions requested by schools are crippling families’ finances according to Brian Stanley TD.

The Sinn Féin TD for Laois and Offaly has expressed concern at schools needing to rely on voluntary contributions from families to fund the basic necessities, and the considerable financial strain this can cause families.

His party has asked families to get in touch and share their experiences about how these costs are affecting them.

“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 as much as €300-400 in some cases.

“These are huge sums for some families to be expected to pull together in a matter of weeks and puts serious strain on families’ finances.

“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 significant and unfair financial burden on families.

“Today, the charity St Vincent de Paul has warned that they are receiving hundreds of phone calls from parents every day who are anxious about these expensive costs. This is unacceptable and must change.

“This is happening because the Government doesn’t fund our schools properly and they are forced to 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 more generally, what are your family’s experiences of back to school costs?," he asks.

The public is invited to contact Sinn Féin's spokesperson on Education, Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD at donnchadh.olaoghaire@oir.ie or on social media, to give their experience of the costs of the return to school. 

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