Thursday, August 16, 2012

40% of Wexford parents faced with debt to send their children to school – O’ Connell

The Chairperson of County Wexford Sinn Féin has described a new survey which shows that 40% of parents across the county are going into debt to send their children to school as ‘truly shocking’. Foulkesmills man Oisin O’ Connell said that the report commissioned by his party dispelled the myth that we have free education in this state, despite a provision for such contained in our constitution, and provided a strong argument for the introduction of several seemingly obvious policies by our government to cut the costs of the back to school period.

“A survey carried out by County Wexford Sinn Féin at random locations across the county in July shows the incredible economic strain that parents are under during the back to school period,” Mr O’ Connell said. “40% of parents across County Wexford are going into debt to cover the costs of sending their children to school. These statistics are truly shocking.”

“5% of parents say that they finance back to school expenses with a loan from the credit union, while 9% get loans from door to door loan agencies such as the provident. 17% rely on their credit card. 9% of parents surveyed in the county admit that they are forced to sell personal belongings to cover the costs of sending their children to school.”

“93% of those parents surveyed felt that any cuts to, or the introduction of means testing to the children’s allowance would impact seriously upon their families. Sinn Féin has already voiced its opposition to any plans by the Fine Gael/Labour party coalition to tamper with the children’s allowance in the next budget.”

“Clearly there is a need for the adoption of the seemingly obvious policies to cut back the costs of the back to school period by our government. Parents surveyed suggested several common sense policies that could drastically reduce the cost of sending children back to school.”

“96% of parents surveyed believe that school crests that could be affixed to a supermarket-bought school jumper should be made available to cut the high costs of school uniforms. 52% of parents surveyed said that the introduction of a book rental scheme in all schools would cut education costs. 61% of parents surveyed said that they would like to see schools switch to using laptops, e-books and iPads in order to cut down on the expense of school books, writing materials and constant updated to the school curriculum. These are all policies that Sinn Féin has championed.”

“Article 42.4 of our Constitution states, “The State shall provide for free primary education”. It’s clear that this article does not apply in the real world as parents are put under tremendous financial strain in the run up to September. The full report commissioned by County Wexford Sinn Féin can be read online at”

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