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13th Aug 2023

Parents urged not to pay ‘voluntary’ contribution if they can’t afford it

Kat O'Connor

Norma Foley

Parents have been urged not to pay the ‘voluntary’ contribution fee if they cannot afford it.

Minister for Education Norma Foley said parents should not feel pressured to pay the fee.

Speaking at St. Matthew’s School in Sandymount, she reassured parents and guardians that the fee is not mandatory.

According to The Irish Mirror, she said:

“No parent can be compelled to pay a voluntary contribution to a school and I have to reiterate that because that is factual as per the Education Act.

“I think we’re all very conscious of the burden that has been placed on parents and as I say, today, in terms of a €53million investment, so that the burden of the cost of books is not being placed on the shoulders of parents at primary level.”

Minister Foley said her department is doing everything it can to help relieve the financial pressure.

They have introduced the free school book scheme in primary schools and are also planning on introducing the scheme to secondary schools.

She said: “We’ve made an additional €90million available for energy costs.”

The Department of Education also introduced free hot meals in schools. They also increased the back-to-school footwear and clothing allowance this year.

Foley added, “Government is very cognisant of the burdens that are placed on families at this point in time and we’re schools also to be mindful. No parent. No guardian can be compelled to make a voluntary contribution to a school.”