20 April 2020
By Mary Bermingham
Sinn Féin TD Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire (Cork South Central) has called on the Minister for Education and the State Examinations Commission to confirm that fees will be waived for Leaving Cert students, and that fees paid by Junior Cert students will be refunded.
Speaking today the Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson said that now is a time of great hardship for many families, and in the context of this years Leaving Cert and the uncertainty that exists a waiver on fees for those who need it is warranted.
“In the last few weeks students and their families would have been receiving demands for the payment of fees for both Junior Cert and Leaving Cert examinations. Obviously it is now the case that the Junior Cert will not proceed in a normal manner, and that in-class examinations will replace it. In my view the fees should not fall due, and those who have paid it should receive a full refund.
“In addition, the current context of the Leaving Cert there’s great uncertainty in relation to what will be involved. Students have suffered a lack of clarity in relation to their exams and these fees are coming at a time when people in these households may have lost their jobs, and significant losses of income as a result.
“Asking these households for €116 may put many families under pressure, and I think steps need to be taken to relieve the pressure on families who will struggle to pay these fees; and that anyone in need of a waiver should be entitled to one similar to those who hold a medical card.
“I would urge the Minister for Education to recognise that this is not a normal exam year, and to take appropriate action to ensure families are not placed under further financial stress by putting in place a waiver scheme for those who need it.”