herald

Friday 9 December 2016

Editorial: Parents now dread 'back to school' bill

At the launch of the ‘Back-to-School’ Insights 2015 were Laura Haugh, Mum-in-Residence with MummyPages.ie, and triplets Olivia, Lauren & Cliona O’Flanagan (4) from Portlaoise.
At the launch of the ‘Back-to-School’ Insights 2015 were Laura Haugh, Mum-in-Residence with MummyPages.ie, and triplets Olivia, Lauren & Cliona O’Flanagan (4) from Portlaoise.

MANY children dread returning to school – but possibly not as much as their parents.

A new survey from Barnardos Ireland has revealed that the cost of putting a child through first year at secondary school now stands at €785.

A comparable cost for a senior infant is €365 and a fourth class student €390.

Such costs are rising, to the extent that one-in-ten primary school parents and one-in-five secondary school parents took out loans to meet the payments this year.

Much of the cost is down to the dreaded ‘voluntary contribution’, a fee levied by schools to make up for funding shortages. School books are another major financial burden.

Removing this fee and providing free classroom resources would cost €103m, Barnardos says.

This might sound a lot but it’s some way less than, for example, the €163m curently spent on school transport.

Children are our future citizens, workers and tax-payers. They, and their parents, deserved a fairer start.

 

Tough times for drivers

DRIVING in Dublin city centre can be stressful at the best of times, but it’s about to get a lot more frustrating in the coming weeks and months.

Track laying on the Luas Cross City project began yesterday at O’Connell Street, with more works set to begin next month at Middle Abbey Street, Hawkins Street, College Green and Dawson Street.

The College Green bus gate will also be closed to private cars from 7am to 7pm on weekdays from next Monday.

The works will cause “considerable” disruption for drivers in the city, according to AA Ireland – so motorists can’t say they weren’t warned.

Such disruption should be worthwhile in the long run though, with the Luas Cross City set to record 10 million passenger journeys per year when it’s complete.

Unfortunately for drivers, that completion date is 2017.

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