A SINN Féin representative for Cork South West has called on the government to take action against voluntary school contributions, which she says are placing unfair financial pressure of families.
‘Sinn Féin have published legislation to end the pressure on families to meet so-called voluntary contributions. As children return to school, thousands of families will be getting requests from schools for voluntary contributions, which can put huge pressure on their finances,’ said Clare O’Callaghan, who was recently selected to contest the next general election for Sinn Féin in the Cork South West constituency.
‘Year on year, families are being crippled by requests for contributions of very often well over €100 or €200 per child, and even as much as €300 to €400 in some cases.’
Clare said that these are huge sums for families to be expected to pull together in a matter of weeks, putting a serious strain on family finances.
‘We know that in reality, these contributions are voluntary in name only. In some instances, students and families can be denied certain services and extra-curricular activities and they can face stigma.’
She said the reason these voluntary school contributions are happening is because the government has consistently underfunded the schools to the point that they feel they have to fundraise just to cover the basic.
‘The legislation Sinn Féin has publishes would bring an end to the pressure on families to make these donations. Our Bill will place an obligation on schools to make clear to families that these contributions are voluntary.’
‘It will ensure that no child is stigmatised or denied opportunities because their parents are not in a position to make a contribution. Our Bill will prohibit schools from contacting parents more than once a year looking for contributions and will work to end the stigma by disallowing any reminders of these contributions to be sent home with their children.’