Renua leader and Offaly County Councillor John Leahy
RENUA Ireland leader Cllr John Leahy has described free education as a myth for hard pressed working parents.
He said it was a source of 'grave concern' that a recent annual school-costs survey commissioned by the Irish League of Credit Unions indicates that parents are now spending on average of €999 per primary school child and €1,379 per secondary school pupil.
He added, "It is indicative of how thinly the boom is being experienced that parents are now going to money-lenders to keep their children in new shoes and crested uniforms."
He also hit out at the government's level of funding for schools.
"Truly the dream of free primary and secondary education has turned into a myth under a government that won’t even pay schools enough capitation to keep students warm. We are in this regard only one step away from the days when children had to bring a sod of turf to the school each. It may be hard on our Ministers to realise but €1,000 a child is a real imposition on after tax income. Ireland's education system is now worse than the era prior to Donagh O’Malley in the sixties."
"Not only has free secondary education collapsed but it now costs as much to send a child to primary school as to college. The government should move now to restore the primacy of the concept of freedom for education for all," Cllr Leahy concluded.