WATCH: Cork schoolkids lay out their Budget wish list

The Echo spoke to primary school students in Cork city. 
WATCH: Cork schoolkids lay out their Budget wish list

Scoil Padre Pio National School, Churchfield, pupils with teacher Mr O’Connor. Picture: Larry Cummins

SICK people, poor people, and housing were the top Budget spend suggestions from Scoil Padre Pio National School fourth class pupils in Churchfield this week, ahead of D-Day next Tuesday.

The Echo spoke to primary school students to check in with the next generation and make sure the decisions being made at a Government level are reflective of the needs of the youth.

Scoil Padre Pio National School, Churchfield, pupils with teacher Mr O’Connor.	Picture: Larry Cummins
Scoil Padre Pio National School, Churchfield, pupils with teacher Mr O’Connor. Picture: Larry Cummins

The colourful conversations proved insightful, with one youngster emphasizing the need for scientific research to come up with vital cures for illness and to give those with serious illnesses a second chance at life.

Another nine-year-old, Roy, was very keen to see investment in science research to get a grip on the ongoing pandemic.

Climate change

The children were all very aware of the ongoing climate crisis and wanted to see money invested in the environment and making sure the air is clean to breathe.

Jamie, 9, said: “I think the climate is important if we lose trees there will be less oxygen, but there would be more paper, but we would probably spend the paper on stupid things, so I think we should protect the climate more than culture.”

Scoil Padre Pio National School, Churchfield, pupils with teacher Mr Shine and SNA Charlene Collins.	Picture: Larry Cummins
Scoil Padre Pio National School, Churchfield, pupils with teacher Mr Shine and SNA Charlene Collins. Picture: Larry Cummins

Tori, 9, said: “I think it’s really important to spend money on the climate and keeping the air clean. There is lots of smoke going into the air from factories and stuff and there are forests going on fire and ice melting in Antarctica.”

While there were a couple of recurring topics, Tori, also highlighted the importance of looking after agriculture and farms, to ensure we all have enough food to eat.

How big is the budget?

Last year the Government spent almost €80 billion on the budget and this year it is expected to see an increase in expenditure, but the kids had a wide spectrum of guesstimates about the total spend next Tuesday, ranging from “€5,000” to “gazillions”.

Education and school upgrades also featured highly on these children’s list of priorities for the Budget next Tuesday.

Roy, 9, said: “If I was in charge I would spend the money on schools, more houses, and more shops. I think school is the most important because we need an education. I would buy equipment, like whiteboards and projectors, and spend money on lunches.”

While the young pupils were focused on improving the country, there were a few personal purchase suggestions that might not get past red tape, such as “furniture for my house” and a local playground revamp as well as a swimming pool for the Padre Pio National School.

It’s clear these young pupils have the interests of the nation at heart, but also want to see improvements to their local area.

Something that rang through was the young people’s awareness of critical issues affecting society, such as the housing crisis and homelessness with a number of the pupils referencing charity donations as a key aspect of the budget.

Hollie, 9, said: “If I was in charge I would donate some of the money to poor people. 

"Poor people need money, we can’t just be leaving them in the cold. I would spend money on jobs too for poor people.”

Tori, aged nine

I think it’s important to spend money on farms, they are important to get food.

Hospitals are very important as well to look after sick people.

I think the government spend a billion euro every year on the budget. Houses and schools are also really important, but I think it’s really important to spend money on the climate and keeping the air clean. There is lots of smoke going into the air from factories and stuff and there are forests going on fire and ice melting in Antarctica.

I think I’d like to be in charge of the country, deciding on what to spend money on so I could put a swimming pool in my school.

Roy, aged nine

 I’ve heard of the word budget, it means a budget of money. I don’t have an estimate but I think it costs gazillions to run the country.

If I was in charge I would spend the money on schools, more houses, and more shops. I think school is the most important because we need an education.

Science is important as well. I would spend money on hospitals to stop the virus. I would spend the money on the environment as well. I learned about climate change a year ago. We have to make sure the earth is clean.

If I could spend money on anything I would buy myself a big house and houses for everyone else.

Hollie, aged nine

I first heard the word budget in school and I’ve heard it on TV. I think it costs €5,000 to run the country.

If I was in charge I would donate some of the money to poor people. Poor people need money, we can’t just be leaving them in the cold. I would spend money on jobs too for poor people.

I would give money to schools and daycares because they need lots of money to help little kids.

I would also give money to hospitals.

If I had to pick between spending money on hospitals or air [the environment] I would spend it on both.

I would spend money on roads as well.

Bethany, aged 10

I’ve never heard of the budget before but I know what the government is. It probably takes a couple billion euro to run the country.

I would probably spend the money on schools, hospitals, and donation centres, like for cancer or homelessness.

If I had to pick between spending the money on jobs or hospitals I would spend the money on hospitals because there’s loads of sick people.

I would spend money on trees as well because it’s climate change and it’s spreading.

I wouldn’t want the job of being in charge of the budget because it would just be so much to handle.

Rhys, aged nine

I’ve no idea what the budget is, I’ve never heard of it.

I think the government should spend money on hospitals and schools but jobs are important too.

If I was in charge, I would spend money on hospitals and jobs. I think it would be very hard to decide where to spend all the money.

I think it costs billions of euros to run the country.

My local playground needs a shop and I’d like a sandpit and a climbing frame in the park — that’s what I would like in there.

I think it’s hard to run the country, I think there are a lot of decisions to make. I would like that job.

Darragh, aged nine

I think it costs €200,000 to run the country for a year.

The Government should spend money on schools, hospitals, poor people, charities, the environment and jobs.

I think it’s good for the environment to be clean to get all the Covid out of the world.

The roads are important too because you have to drive to school every day and safe roads are very important.

I think I would like the job because I would give loads of money to hospitals and sick people and poor people that need charity and love and respect.

I’d like to be in Government in the future.

Jamie, aged nine

I think the Government spends €10m in the Budget every year. I am surprised to hear they spend billions.

I think science is very important because the more science research we do we can create new cures for sicknesses and the Government should spend money on hospitals so they can have new technology to make it easier to cure someone.

I think the climate is important. 

I think we should protect the climate more than culture.

I don’t think I’d like to be in charge of the country, there are a lot of decisions, you would be very worried all the time.

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