O’Ríordáin calls on Government to “get its act together” on educationMike Finnerty 12 Sep 2023
Labour TD Aodhán Ó Ríordáin TD has echoed calls from primary school management bodies who have appealed for additional funding to meet significant increases in energy, insurance, cleaning, and waste disposal costs.
The Dublin Bay North TD, who also serves as the party spokesperson on education, said “it is simply outrageous that schools are relying on ‘voluntary’ contributions for the payment of the everyday, expected and anticipated costs of running a school. Government is abjectly failing in its promise to provide a decent, fair standard of education to all children.”
“Parents dread this time of year when back to school conversations are dominated by finances, not progress and learning. Government needs to get its act together to ensure that education is genuinely free,” he said.
“There’ll be a lot of back-slapping at the Fianna Fáil think-in today when it comes to education, but the facts speak for themselves – education should be free.”
“According to the annual Barnardos’ back to school survey, half of primary and two-thirds of secondary school parents are worried about meeting the costs for the coming academic year,” he noted.
“So-called voluntary costs can’t continue to plug the gaps left by Government.”
“The Government must act now to provide schools with the funding they need. This is a matter of urgency. If schools do not receive additional funding, they will have to rely on voluntary contributions from parents to provide basic necessities. This could have a negative impact on the quality of education in Ireland,” said Ó Ríordáin, who had a career in education as a teacher and principal prior to his career in politics.
“Chronic underfunding hits disadvantaged schools hardest – the government must build on last year’s budget to ensure all schools have the basic funds they need.”
Ó Ríordáin also called on the government to maintain the capital allocation for schools to purchase books.
“This is an essential investment in our children’s education. We need to make sure that all children have access to books, regardless of their background. The permanent allocation must be included in budget 2024.”