Matt Carthy’s first Dáil Bill will address pressures ‘Voluntary’ Contributions place on parents and schools
Cavan Monaghan Sinn Féin TD, Matt Carthy, has introduced his first legislative bill to the Dáil which, if passed, will regulate the collection of so-called voluntary contributions by schools. Recognising that schools are often forced to seek these contributions for basic running costs, the Sinn Féin bill will direct government to resolve that situation while also placing obligations on schools in this regard.
Teachta Carthy told the Dáil:
“This bill, which I authored with the Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Education, Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD, is aimed at ending the pressure on families to pay for so-called ‘voluntary’ contributions.
“This is the time of year when many families, particularly those with school-going children, find themselves under financial stress, with many traditionally receiving home and motor tax insurance renewal documents at this time.
“Many of those under severe pressure are already planning for the Christmas period. And many of these families are floored when they receive a letter from their local school requesting hundreds of euro in so-called voluntary contributions.
“These contributions are requested because schools believe they need to fund-raise in such a manner to simply keep the lights on. We heard over the Covid period that some schools were unable to provide hot water for children to wash their hands.
“The Bill seeks to address the undue stress parents are being put under.
“It will oblige schools to make apparent that these contributions are indeed voluntary and make them truly voluntary by ceasing the practice of children being excluded from some activities as a result of a parent’s inability to pay, as unfortunately happens.
“It will prevent schools from contacting parents more than once a year seeking such contributions and ensure voluntary contributions are truly voluntary in the interim, while setting out a pathway to end the practice once and for all by ensuring the Government adequately and appropriately funds our schools.”
The Bill is now on the under paper of the Dáil and will require the support of a majority of TDs to pass the second stage and be brought to committee.