Proposals that would see free hot meals for all children in DEIS primary schools, and free schoolbooks for all children rolled out over a five-year Government term have been launched by Sinn Féin.
Cork South Central TD Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire said that every summer he speaks to families who are “crippled by the growing costs of sending their kids back to school”.
“Families are put to the pin of their collar year on year to meet the costs of books, uniforms, voluntary contributions, transport — the list goes on," he said.
“Parents make every effort to cover these costs, many getting themselves into debt as a result.
"Successive governments have slashed capitation funding for schools, leaving parents to make up the shortfall through huge voluntary contributions.”
Free schoolbooks for all children would be provided through increases in funding over a number of budgets, he said.
“We would significantly enhance the School Meals Programme, ensuring that all children in DEIS primary schools receive a hot meal during the school day,” he said.
“The piecemeal supports provided by successive governments have done little to ease the huge financial burden on parents every year.”
He believes the proposals set out can ensure “equal educational outcomes can be secured for all children, regardless of their family’s income”.