€1m in funding to reduce the cost of school books in DEIS school – Griffin Additional funding of €1m to reduce the cost of books for primary school pupils in DEIS schools is welcome news for parents, according to Minister for State for Tourism and Sport, Brendan Griffin TD Minister Griffin said, “My colleague, Minister for Education and Skills, Joe McHugh, has today announced a new €1 million fund which aims to provide free books in primary schools. “More than 15,000 pupils across more than 100 primary schools are to benefit from the increased investment which is extremely welcome for parents. “The investment is being made on top of the book grant provided to all schools in the country and follows a commitment to in Budget 2020 to introduce an extra support to reduce costs for families and school communities. “Around 15,500 children will benefit from the additional funding. “The new pilot which aims to provide free school books will be available to more than 100 primary schools which are part of the DEIS programme, in both rural and urban areas. “The pilot programme will see the book grant increase to €85 per pupil in the participating schools, all of which are in the DEIS programme. “Fine Gael is committed to education and helping families with their living costs wherever possible. Minister McHugh said: “The additional €1 million funding for these schools effectively means we are now investing four times as much money on book grants for next September. The aim is to provide school books for these children and their families and we hope to build on this. “The cost of school books is recognised as a significant element of back to school costs and in line with the overall aim of DEIS to ensure all learners have equal opportunity to fulfil their potential. “I have decided to focus this funding on DEIS schools, in both urban and rural areas, which cater for high concentrations of students from disadvantaged areas.” The Department of Education and Skills already provides a book grant of almost €17 million to all recognised primary and post primary schools within the Free Education Scheme in order to provide assistance for books, including book rental schemes and all schools are encouraged to operate book rental schemes to help alleviate costs to parents. Ends Notes to Editors 1. Purpose of the Book Grant. This Department already provides a book grant to all recognised primary and post primary schools within the Free Education Scheme in order to provide assistance for books including Book Rental Schemes. DEIS schools receive an enhanced rate. Under this scheme, the Department provides funding of €16.9 million annually to all of these schools. It is a matter for the Board of Management of each individual school to decide on its own policy in relation to the use of this funding in the school but they are expected to adopt a cost-conscious approach to the selection of books for use in their classes. The current arrangement relies on the local knowledge of the school in order to ensure a fair allocation of funds to those most in need. The arrangements in relation to this scheme are set out in Circular 0046/2013 which is published on the Department’s website at http://www.education.ie/en/Circulars-and-Forms/Active-Circulars/cl0046_2013.pdf 2. Schools to be included in the pilot. The 102 DEIS schools will be notified by email in the coming days informing them of their inclusion in the programme. While the criteria attached will be in line with the terms of the existing Book Grant Scheme further details will issue to these schools in due course. An additional €64 will be provided per student on top of the existing per capita book grant issued to the schools within the pilot. 3. How were school selected Schools were selected based on their levels of concentrated disadvantage using the data available and represent both urban and rural schools. 4. Funding level The additional funding allocation to schools is in line with the costings as set out in the 2019 Barnardos report on the Real Cost of School which states that €85 is the average cost of schools books at primary level and is one of the many measures undertaken by this Department to reduce school costs overall. For further information please contact Brendan on 087-6528841

Brendan Griffin Kerry 24th June 2019 Kerry Civil Defence receives emergency vehicle boost – Griffin A new four wheel drive jeep that has the capacity to respond to national emergencies and extreme weather events will be added to the Kerry Civil Defence fleet, according to Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Brendan Griffin. Minister with responsibility for Defence, Paul Kehoe, confirmed that the 16 Ford Ranger Crewcab Pickup Vehicles will be joining the Civil Defence fleet in the coming weeks. And Minister Griffin can reveal that Kerry is among the units that will receive a jeep. The purchase of the vehicles is part of a €500,000 allocation from the Dormant Accounts fund of the Department of Community and Rural Development. The vehicles, priced at over €31,000 each, will improve the four wheel capability of the Civil Defence fleet and further improve its ability to support the Principal Response Agencies. During national adverse weather events such as Storm Ophelia in October 2017 and Storm Emma in March 2018, the Civil Defence fleet of four-wheel drive vehicles were fully deployed. The vehicles were utilised in carrying out a variety of tasks, assisting local authorities, the HSE and the National Ambulance Service and An Garda Síochána. In a number of incidents, Civil Defence volunteers were involved in assisting vulnerable people including elderly who found themselves snowed in. They were also involved in transporting patients and carers, evacuating people from their homes and delivering meals. The decision to award these vehicles to the Civil Defence Units came following a transparent allocation process, which looked at several criteria including the ratio of civil defence four wheel drive jeeps to the population of the county and the age profile of the four wheel jeeps currently within the Civil Defence unit in the county Commenting on the decision, Minister Griffin said: “These new vehicles will be an additional resource for those who give their time and work so hard in times of emergency such as severe weather events to keep people safe. Their provision is also an important acknowledgement of the work of volunteers and their ongoing commitment to Civil Defence”. ENDS For further information please contact Brendan on 087-6528841