Sinn Féin TD for Dublin South West Seán Crowe has expressed his concern at schools needing to rely on voluntary contributions from families to fund the basic necessities, and the considerable financial hardship and financial strain this can cause on many families.

Sinn Féin has asked families to get in touch and share their personal experiences about how these costs are affecting them.

Teachta Crowe said:

“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, many 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 families to be expected to pull together in a matter of weeks and every year 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 face stigma and extreme embarrassment.

“When added to the costs of uniforms, school books, and school transport, this represents a very significant and unfair financial burden is placed on families.

“Saint 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 elsewhere.

“It doesn’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 so called voluntary contributions.

“Sinn Féin will stand up for families to ensure these unfair costs stop and that schools finally get the proper government funding.”