News & Media

Investing in education is key to eradicating child poverty

17 October 2019

Statement by Senator Aodhán Ó Ríordáin
Spokesperson on Education and Skills, Gaeilge and the Gaeltacht

On UN International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, Labour spokesperson on Education, Senator Aodhán Ó Ríordáin has said that Labour wants to give every child a fair start when it comes to their education.

Senator Ó Ríordáin commented:

“The risk of poverty affects one in four children growing up in Ireland today.

“As is well known, Ireland is an expensive place to raise a child, and families with children face a whole range of extra costs.

“One area in which we can make a real and important difference in this regard is education, and Labour wants to ensure that every child gets a fair start by removing many of the costs associated with going to school.

“In our Alternative Budget for 2020, Labour proposed making the current Back to School and Clothing Allowance a universal payment to all parents to alleviate these hefty costs.

“We have also allocated funding for the provision of free school books at primary and secondary level, where currently only 65% of schools report having a book rental scheme.

“Just last week, our Free Education Bill to ban so-called 'voluntary' contributions passed committee stage in the Seanad. If enacted, this would do away with the hidden costs of these payments and remove a major financial hurdle for many struggling parents.

“In our Alterative Budget we also increased the capitation grants in DEIS schools by 50 per cent, and returned schools to pre-crash levels of capitation investment.

“We’ve also provided funds to ensure that every child that needs one has a school bus place under the School Transport Scheme and resourced the rollout of a universal hot school meals programme.

"Despite the constitutional commitment to provide for free primary education, parents are still paying too much for their children to go to school, and Labour wants to give every child a fair start by removing many of these costs."