Speaking as the annual Barnardos School Costs Survey is published, Mary Lou McDonald said:
“Government spokespeople can talk all they like about ‘green shoots’ and ‘meeting targets’ but ordinary working people know that they are at breaking point. There is nothing positive about that.
“The pressure that parents of school-going children are under, facing the cost of sending children back to school is enormous. I see it in my constituency office and I see it on the street. People cannot take anymore.
“There are immediate measures that can be taken to ease the pressure. The minister has it in his gift to legislate so that schools’ boards of management are obliged to ease up on uniforms, for example.
“Barnardos figures are stark. Parents are footing a bill of up to €800 taking into account uniforms, books, tracksuits, shoes, runners and other bits and pieces necessary to equip kids for school.
“Education & Skills Minister Ruairi Quinn must take a stronger line with boards of management to implement policies that will allow parents the freedom to buy cheaper school uniforms.
“The message here is clear: austerity is not working. Citizens are under real pressure and this is the message that the government must heed when it is drawing up the October budget.”