Back to School Clothing And Footwear Applications

Noel-CoonanDeputy Noel Coonan has confirmed that five additional staff will be deployed to process the huge number of applications received under the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Scheme 2009. Parents are growing increasingly anxious with the delay in payment this year as the start of the next school year looms closer.

Deputy Coonan has warmly welcomed the extra resources, albeit at a late date.

Confirming the news to www.Thures.Info this morning Deputy Coonan stated:

“I’m glad that the Health Service Executive( HSE )will tackle the issue of the delay in issuing payments as it has been causing undue hardship and stress to parents. With school reopening in only a few weeks I welcome the extra resources although it is late in the day. HSE staff who are dealing with applications are working as hard as they can but their workload has increased dramatically this year.

The increase in the number of applications is a sign of the extreme economic hardship being experienced by some families throughout North Tipperary. The increase in school costs has also contributed significantly to their plight. Fianna Fáil has hiked up the cost of school transport significantly for the coming school year with a 79% increase in junior post-primary fees from €132 annually to a now crippling €300 per child. Senior post-primary pupils are also being hit with a 28% rise.

I have been making representations on a regular basis on behalf of distressed parents and I’m glad that my pleas are being acknowledged. There has already been a lot of confusion with the scheme this Summer. People didn’t know where they could get the forms as the local Community Welfare Officers did not take applications or queries this year. Applicants then didn’t know where they were to send the completed applications forms.
It is coming very close to the time when children will return to school and parents need to know if they will be getting the allowance so they can buy uniforms and footwear. Understandably, they are becoming increasingly concerned and anxious with the long processing time”, concluded Deputy Coonan.

Over the next three weeks, the HSE will be adding five staff from existing resources, thus increasing the capacity to deal with the vast number of applications that still have to be processed.

There have been 12,500 applications received under the scheme this year from the Mid-West region including North Tipperary, Clare and Limerick. Of these, it is hoped that 4,000 people will be paid by this coming weekend.

Note: The scheme does not close until September and applications are still arriving.

Last year, 8,981 applications were received over the full period of this scheme showing a significant increase this year.

The Back to School Clothing Scheme Unit lo-call number is 1890 252973.


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