Gary Gannon TD

Budget decision to exclude secondary schools is baffling

The families of second level students have been abandoned by the Government in today’s budget, according to Social Democrats TD Gary Gannon TD.

Deputy Gannon, who is the party’s spokesperson on Education, said:

“It is frankly baffling to see the exclusion of second level students from the measures announced in Budget 2023. The reality is that the cost of sending a child to secondary school is generally much higher than the expense of attending primary school.

“Parents are often required to purchase expensive iPads or other digital devices, in addition to having to pay for insurance, school trips abroad and so-called voluntary donations.

“Even those students using traditional schoolbooks often have to buy new editions every year. This removes the option of purchasing them second-hand, passing them on to siblings or availing of book rental schemes.

“It is also unfair that the families of sixth year students who have turned 18 also must pay for books without receiving any child benefit.

“While the announcement of free schoolbooks for primary school children is welcome, it will come too late for parents who have already bought books for this term. The cost-of-living crisis is now, not next September.

“In the Social Democrats’ alternative budget, we proposed a range of measures to make education in Ireland genuinely free. We estimate it would cost an extra €113m and €140m in primary and second level schools respectively, representing just a 2 percent increase on the overall €12bn education budget for 2022.

“Budget 2023 falls well short of achieving that goal.”

September 27, 2022

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