Monday, August 07, 2006


Tomorrow I will be joiing Kathleen Lynch and Jan O Sullivan at a press conference outlining the Labour Party's proposal's for easing the burden of back to school costs.

Below is the text of the statement released before the press conference:

Labour Party Councillor for Dublin North inner City, Aodhan O Riordain, has said the Government must take immediate steps to rein in the exorbitant cost of school books for children and their families.

School book costs are now the single biggest financial burden on many families. The price of books and materials creates a huge dent in family budgets at this time of year.

Government coffers may be awash with money, but the funding and supports available to help vulnerable families to meet these costs are entirely inadequate.

For example, the Book Rental Schemes which allow pupils rent books from the school for a year is working, but only just. Less than one quarter of our children are in schools where they can benefit. That's simply not good enough.

The total expenditure in Post Primary Schools in 2005 was just €7m or €20 per pupil. The levels of support provided by the state are hopeless inadequate, especially when compared to the system of free school books in Northern Ireland.

In my own constituency, children from low income and middle wage families are seriously handicapped by the absence of proper support systems to allow them purchase vital curriculum textbooks.

Our plan is to
· Increase the funding available for the School Books Grant Scheme and Book Rental Schemes
· Get the Department of Education to take responsibility for promoting greater awareness of successful Book Rental Schemes
· Review the School Books Grant Scheme to take account of changing prices and changes in the use of textbooks
· Make sure the cost of cost of school books is taken into consideration when changing the curriculum.
· Reduce costs by encouraging the producing one-volume books to cover two or three year's study