Election candidate Norma Moriarty says recent Credit Union survey highlighting €400 Back-to-School costs is only “tip of the iceberg”
Range of financial options needed to help parents meet costs in a reasonable timeframe
Kerry Fianna Fáil election candidate Norma Moriarty has said a new strategy is needed to help Kerry parents to manage the financial cliff that comes with back-to-school costs every September.
Councillor Moriarty has said a survey from the Irish League of Credit Unions, which says parents face costs of an average of €400 per child on uniforms and books this September, is “just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to school costs for families.”
“I believe we need an opportunity to spread school costs in a reasonable way through the year and avoid a steep financial cliff at the end of the summer months,” said Councillor Moriarty.
Norma added: “There is real scope here for a new protocol to be put in place between the Department of Social Protection, the Department of Education, MABS and the Irish League of Credit Unions that sets out financial options for parents. It's not just about managing the back-to-school costs with uniforms and books each September, many parents in Kerry are only getting to grips with having to meet those costs when they have to face a communion or confirmation in that school year too.
“Many families already try to balance and plan financially for these but the benefits of an agreed protocol that is supported by the Money Advice and Budgeting Service and local credit unions could be hugely beneficial to hundreds of families in south Kerry. School costs adds a lot of stress to a household and given the fact that families are having to meet a host of new taxes and charges under this government they really don't know where they'll find the money in many cases.
“I am really worried that many parents, feeling trapped by the significant one-off costs that come with the new school term, could feel pressured to turn to money lenders. This can seem like a no-nonsense quick fix but in reality families will pay much more in the long run and expose themselves to an unregulated sector where they have no real rights or protection.
“The answer is for a comprehensive suite of financial options available for parents to turn to which would help them spread back-to-school or one-off communion and confirmation costs over a school year, or possibly longer. MABS and the Irish League of Credit Unions have proven track records of understanding and compassion in dealing with families on these issues. A strategy along these lines would lead to a new, socially-beneficial protocol that I believe would be met with widespread support from parents in Kerry and across the country.
“This is a credible, sensible solution that I want to see included in Fianna Fáil’s election proposals. It would be of huge benefit to thousands of families and think it could be adopted with the co-operation of all involved.”