Thursday, August 16, 2012

County Wexford Sinn Féin launch Back to School proposals

“It might be enshrined in our constitution, but it’s hard to imagine how anyone could get the idea that we have free education in this country!” That was the view of North Wexford Sinn Féin rep and teacher Fionntán O’ Súilleabháin as he helped launch his party’s back to school proposals in Enniscorthy last Tuesday night. Sinn Féin also released the results of a survey carried out at random locations across county Wexford in the month of July which reveal the very real struggle faced by local parents at this time of year.

“Wexford parents are seeing school bills increase as they are faced with an escalating reliance by schools on voluntary contributions from parents, growing costs of school books, over expensive ‘official’ school uniforms which can only be bought in certain premises and a failing school transport network,” Mr O’ Súilleabháin said.

“The survey carried out by members of Sinn Féin across the county in July revealed that 89% of Wexford parents find the costs incurred over the back to school period as excessive, and that 93% of parents surveyed felt that any cuts to, or the introduction of means testing to the children’s allowance in the next budget would impact seriously upon their families.”

“School books, school uniform, footwear and school transport were listed as the most significant expenses by parents surveyed. 50% of Wexford parents admitted to paying more than €350 to cover these costs during the back to school period.”

“What the survey also revealed in what Sinn Féin has been saying for many years – Simple common sense policies enacted by the government could alleviate much of the heavy expense faced by parents and end the rip off culture that currently permeates at this time of year.”

“96% of Wexford parents surveyed believed 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. Sinn Féin has consistently called on successive governments to act on this. An average jumper bought for schools in the Gorey area costs around €60 when its true value is less than a third of this price.”

“Sinn Féin is also calling for the introduction of a centralised book lending scheme to be introduced to all schools, the abolishment of charges for the leaving certificate and junior cert and for the mocks, and a halt to any further cuts of any kind to our education system.”

The full report commissioned by County Wexford Sinn Féin can be read online at

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