Sinn Féin TD Ruairí Ó Murchú says the government “must do much more to support families in Louth struggling with back-to-school costs”.
As families start to turn their thoughts towards the return of primary and secondary schools at the end of next month, Deputy Ó Murchú said his office has been contacted by a number of families worried about the rising costs of getting their kids back to school.
He said: “Families are already under huge pressure due to the cost of living crisis and will be under real financial pressure to cover these bills.
“I have been contacted by families across Dundalk and North Louth who are very worried about how they will manage to meet these costs and stay on top of their basic bills as well.
“This should not be happening. No-one should face this stress or the prospect of going into debt, just to send a child to school”.
Deputy Ó Murchú highlighted that in June, Sinn Féin had published a package of measures to cut back to school costs.
He said: “I welcome that the government accepted some of Sinn Féin’s proposals and did finally act to increase the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance.
“However, they did not go far enough. I am urging the government to ensure they deliver on all of Sinn Féin’s proposals to cut back-to-school costs so that families can money back in their pockets urgently."
Deputy Ó Murchú pointed to the financial stress middle income families are under.
He said: “People who have one child in school and who have a combined income of €620 or more per week don’t get any assistance in terms of Back To School Clothing and Footwear Allowance.
“Sinn Féin are proposing that this eligibility is widened to include middle income earners.
“These are people on modest incomes who are working hard and cannot afford to pay these spiralling costs. It would be fair and reasonable for the eligibility to be widened.
“There is still time to act, but the government cannot delay any longer. This issue is urgent.
“We will be distributing leaflets across the county in relation to our proposals in the coming weeks’.
“The government must widen eligibility for the allowance now, so that middle income earners can receive much-needed help with back-to-school costs”.
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