Price war sees retailers cut uniform cost to €6
Parents facing the most expensive time of the school year can take heart from a new rock-bottom price war for school uniforms - starting as low as €6 for a full outfit.
Primary school children, who do not have to wear school crests or logos, will benefit most from the back-to-school battle between retailers for parents' cash.
Michael Kilcoyne of the Consumer Association of Ireland has welcomed the latest "real competition" in the market.
"Parents are under a lot of pressure at this time of year and they have less and less resources," he stressed.
He points out that since most school uniforms only last a year because of how quickly children grow, "it's important that people get them at a reasonable price".
Most of the clothes on offer this year are machine washable, tumble-dryer safe and easy to iron.
The trousers and skirts have Teflon coating on to protect against common classroom stains.
Three main retailers are offering uniform bundles starting as low at €6 for a polo shirt, sweatshirt and trousers or a skirt.
Tesco, whose range comes on stream from Monday, have a back-to-school bundle for just €6.
It includes a blue polo shirt at €1.50, a navy sweatshirt at €2.50 and navy skirts or trousers priced a €2 each.
Aldi's bundle comes in at a price of "under €6.50".
It has trousers or pleated skirts in navy, grey or black at €1.99 a pair with a two-pack of blue or white polo shirts also for €1.99 and a choice of navy or red round-necked sweaters at €2.49 each.
The range is available in a selection of sizes for children from 4-11 years of age.
The company says its "one-price policy" means families pay the same price for each uniform item, regardless of the child's size.
The school uniform range will be available on Thursday, July 24, in Aldi's 108 Irish stores for a limited period.
Littlewoods Ireland has already launched its online range, which includes girls' short-sleeved blouses for €5 or a three-pack of boys' long-sleeved shirts for €7.50.
Girls' woven skirts cost €12.50 for a pack of two and boys slim-fit trousers are €15 for a two pack. Unisex round-necked jumpers are €7.50 for a pack of two.
Mr Kilcoyne, however, is concerned that many families have to buy clothes that have school crests already sewn in.
This prevents parents from being able to buy the cheaper, generic school uniform items.
He has questioned whether there is any need for school crest at all.
"I think the whole question of school uniforms and particularly school crests should be examined.
"The crests should at least be able to be bought separately and attached to the uniform, but why do they need a crest at all?
"I think it should be optional. I think the schools, who are depending more and more on parents to fund education, should take this in to account."