Sinn Féin North Wexford representative and local school teacher Fionntán Ó Súilleabháin has urged qualifying parents to apply for the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance. Applications are being accepted by the Department of Social Protection from June 14th. Ó Súilleabháin has also hit out at Minister Joan Burton’s cut to this years allowance.
Ó Súilleabháin said:
“In last years budget Labour Minister Joan Burton cut the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance. Most of Wexfords TDs voted for this cut.
“This year the payment is reduced from €250 to €200 for children aged between 12 and 17 or 18-22 in full-time education, The payment to children between 4 and 11 is down from €150 to €100.
“When making the cut Minister Burton controversially told parents that ‘there is a lot of good value in shops in relation to clothing and footwear’.
“Given that Minister Burton gets an annual salary of over €169,000 I doubt she has any idea of the impact her cuts will have on hard pressed families this summer.
“The scheme has now opened for 2013. If you received the Allowance last year and your circumstances have not changed you should have received a letter stating when and how your allowance will be paid.
“If you did not receive an automatic payment this year, you should make an application for the Allowance as soon as possible.
“If you are in receipt of a social welfare payment including FIS or taking part in an approved employment scheme such as JobBridge and Tús you could be eligible.
“I would advise anyone in doubt to contact their local social welfare office immediately.
“I would also call on the Minister for Social Projection Joan Burton and her colleagues such as Brendan Howlin and also Paul Kehoe and Michael D'Arcy to realise the hardship they are imposing on low income families and reverse this appalling cut in the forthcoming budget.”