Sinn Féin TD for Dublin South West Seán Crowe has said the government must do much more to support families across south Dublin struggling with back to school costs.

Speaking after the Barnardos report was issued yesterday, Teachta Crowe said:

“Last month, Sinn Féin published a package of measures to cut back-to-school costs. This set out how families in Dublin South West can get much needed support for these spiralling costs, as the price of uniforms, school books, lunches, voluntary contributions and transport can reach hundreds or even thousands of Euros.

“Families are already under huge pressure due to the cost of living crisis and will be under real financial pressure to cover these bills. I have been contacted by families across south Dublin who are very worried about how they will manage to meet these costs and stay on top of their basic bills as well. This should not be happening. No one should face this stress or the prospect of going into debt, just to send a child to school.

“I welcome that the government accepted some of Sinn Féin’s proposals and did finally act to increase the Back to Education Allowance. However, they did not go far enough. I am urging the government to ensure they deliver on Sinn Féin’s proposals to cut back to school costs so that families can put money back in their pockets urgently.

“Middle income families need help this summer. They can’t wait. People who have one child in school and who have a combined income of €620 or more per week don’t get any assistance in terms of Back to School clothing and footwear allowance. Sinn Féin are proposing that this eligibility is widened to include middle income earners.

“These are people on modest incomes who are working hard and cannot afford to pay these spiralling back-to-school costs. It would be fair and reasonable for the eligibility to be widened to ensure these families get a break from the cost of living crisis. This would make a real difference to so many people across south Dublin.

“There is still time to act, but the government cannot delay any longer. This issue is urgent. We are already in the middle of summer and these costs are coming in. Families cannot wait any longer.

“The government has shown before that they can act, when they did agree to take on some of Sinn Féin’s proposals. I am urging them to deliver on all our measures. Our proposals are fair, reasonable and deliverable. They would make a real difference to families who are under major financial pressure.

“The government must widen eligibility for the Back to Education Allowance now, so that middle income earners can receive much-needed help with back-to-school costs. A Sinn Féin government would stand up for families hit by the cost of living crisis.”