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Junior Cert fee exemptions


toconn

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Jan 31, 2011
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3,229
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.
 


RobertW

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Feb 11, 2011
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20,483
There are over 1.8 million with medical cards.

Your wish to get "on the bandwagon" is understandable.
 

damus

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Jun 28, 2011
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Out of interest how does the school cross-check that the students parents are actually full GMS holders? Are they asked to complete any forms which would give them access to the parents GMS numbers?
 

toconn

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Jan 31, 2011
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There are over 1.8 million with medical cards.

Your wish to get "on the bandwagon" is understandable.
Wow ! that is a lot and genuinely surprises me , I know times are tough for a lot of people but that number seems excessive .
 

pandora

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May 3, 2009
Messages
347
Out of interest how does the school cross-check that the students parents are actually full GMS holders? Are they asked to complete any forms which would give them access to the parents GMS numbers?
From my memory of when my children were in school it isn't the school but the exam commission in Athlone you informed if you wanted the exemption.
Their school gave the form to EVERY child. I don't think it is fair to ask children to put up their hands in class if they have a medical card and I'm surprised that hasn't been pointed out to the school. Many people who have a nice house and car are struggling to get by and it isn't their childrens' classmates' business if qualify for a medical card or not.
 

Merovingian

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Apr 27, 2010
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1,595
Wow ! that is a lot and genuinely surprises me , I know times are tough for a lot of people but that number seems excessive .
50%of the population have medical cards. If you don't then you are likely in paid employment, paying tax through the nose and eligible for zip.
 

gatsbygirl20

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Dec 1, 2008
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From my memory of when my children were in school it isn't the school but the exam commission in Athlone you informed if you wanted the exemption.
Their school gave the form to EVERY child. I don't think it is fair to ask children to put up their hands in class if they have a medical card and I'm surprised that hasn't been pointed out to the school. Many people who have a nice house and car are struggling to get by and it isn't their childrens' classmates' business if qualify for a medical card or not.
I am surprised students had to put up their hands.The Year Head knows which of her pupils has a medical card and the whole thing is supposed to be handled discreetly

The SEC in Athlone requires supporting documentation...I forget exactly how it works although I used to do this with my own students....
 

tigerben

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Sep 21, 2010
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When did these fees come in , what is the money used for, and were does the money go.
 

damus

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Jun 28, 2011
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From my memory of when my children were in school it isn't the school but the exam commission in Athlone you informed if you wanted the exemption.
Their school gave the form to EVERY child. I don't think it is fair to ask children to put up their hands in class if they have a medical card and I'm surprised that hasn't been pointed out to the school. Many people who have a nice house and car are struggling to get by and it isn't their childrens' classmates' business if qualify for a medical card or not.
That's what I was thinking....which raises the question why the children of non-GMS households were only being given the forms....surely every child regardless of their GMS status would be given a form for their parents to complete?
 

Texal Tom

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Feb 24, 2011
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I think that it's very unfair that people with medical cards pay nothing and the rest pay a sizable fee. Even the fee that is now paid for prescriptions is very low compared with the full price that non card holders pay.

It's the same with college fees (student registration charges) which are now €2,500. And those who get maintenance grants which are worth either @ 3k or 5k if you're more disadvantaged! I was talking with a woman who has three children at third level and its a struggle to put food on the table. This woman and her husband both work and a just over the income threshold 39k.

The system would not encourage many to take up a job as there would be so many grants and benefits lost.

I once went to a local crèche to enquire about child care and the price was €180 per week for the working and €35 for the unemployed! Another penalty on the worker. Should it not be free for the working person and cost something for the unemployed?

cao application costs €25 and there is no concession for medical card holders everyone must pay the fee. This does not go down well with some card holders in our school every year!

This country penalises the worker and encourages people to choose unemployment - great wee country
 

vision

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Oct 31, 2009
Messages
1,094
That's what I was thinking....which raises the question why the children of non-GMS households were only being given the forms....surely every child regardless of their GMS status would be given a form for their parents to complete?
The medical card is something that baffles me. I know a teacher, full time and permanent for 20 years who has a medical card and it baffles me as to why or how this should be the case. I do voluntary work and deal with paperwork for many people and have found those on incomes below the threshold being turned down so I do the appeal for them and am usually successful. On the odd occasion that I havent the people who should be entitled just give up because they are sick of providing answers, proof and having their whole life asked about. But the teacher bit threw me completely - she may be a lone parent of one but even so her wages are at the higher end of the scale having served 20 years. Voluntary work has opened my eyes to the scale of deceit people will go to, not those who are genuinely on welfare, nor the teacher in question I dont know how she managed to get her medical card, but those who appear quite well to do but milk the system for all it has resulting in welfare payments, medical cards and rental payments for houses their long term partners and they have built. It seems to me there is no joined up thinking between handing things out and doing the proper face to face checks to see whether someone qualifies legitimately.
 

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