The other day my 15 yr old son came home with the news that we were to pay €110.00 in fees in order for him to take his JC exams , fair enough ! calls into question the "free education in Ireland " assumption but hey if that's the system then what can you do ? I will declare at this point that we only returned to live in Ireland a few years ago so were a little ignorant of the ways and means of the system.
What did shock me however was finding out that when the head came into the classroom to give out the forms for JC fees he asked the members of the class of 20 or so to put their hands in the air if they were not eligible for a medical card as this would mean that they needed a form to facilitate payment , those who had access to a medical card were exempt from paying and did not need this particular form , my son was the only one who put his hand up as he knows we do not have medical cards in our family . Now whilst I would expect some exemptions I was not prepared for that sort of ratio , I know a lot of the families of these kids and they come from what I would consider reasonably well to do backgrounds , certainly judging by the cars , houses , holidays and the rest that they have access too, not to mention the jobs the parents do !
Am I missing something ? where can I get on this bandwagon ? Since returning to Ireland I have had to pay for everything that's going , visits to Doctors , Hospital, dental , schooling , full college fees and the rest . Yes I earn a reasonable income but pretty average by today's standards for what I do and I don't resent paying my way but I do resent what seems to be a widespread scamming of the system. Even my other son who is at College is stunned when he visits friends 5 / 6 bedroom houses to find that their fees are funded by grants whereas he cant seem to get anything. Am I a mug ? too honest or what ? because every time we apply for something I am told we are not entitled to it . Let me declare that I am politically inclined to social democracy and have no problem with social welfare where required ,or indeed paying taxes to fund good public services and an equitable society as far as can be, but it seems to me that a good many people in this country are happy to fiddle whatever to avoid paying their dues which cant be a good thing. As I say I must be missing something.