News & Media

School book funding announcement doesn't go far enough

9 January 2020

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

Responding to the announcement of €1m in State funding for free books at primary level, Labour spokesperson on Education, Senator Aodhán Ó Ríordáin said:

“Obviously I welcome any initiative to provide school children with free books, which as the Government knows is something the Labour Party has been calling for, for some time.

“But the reality is that one million euro is far short of what is required to meet the massive demand across the country, with just 100 of the nearly 700 DEIS schools at primary level set to benefit from this funding.

“If primary education is to be genuinely free in Ireland, all children should have access to free school books.

“In our Alternative Budget for 2020, we provided up to €20m euro in a fully costed plan to roll out free-of-charge books to all Irish primary schools.

“That’s 20 times what the Minister has announced today.

“The Government had an opportunity last October to make free books a reality for all schools, but instead went down the route of a €4m pilot scheme be rolled out next September.

“This last-minute announcement today with talk of an election just around the corner simply does not go far enough and will still leave hundreds of schools wanting- and without access to free books.”