The Minister should be delighted that so many Deputies are raising the issue of capitation because it is certainly one of the biggest difficulties schools face. The Minister will be aware that many of the costs schools experience, particularly energy, heating and lighting costs, have soared in recent years. I know the Government talks a lot about the cost of insurance but the cost of insurance for schools has risen significantly and continuously over the past number of years. In addition, many schools are finding it more and more difficult to get cover unless they literally confine the children to walking with their hands by the sides and keep them out of what insurers like to see as danger areas.
How does the Minister expect schools to manage? Across the country, primary and secondary schools run lots of functions. I have attended lots of summer fairs in schools across my constituency. The one thing everybody mentions, be they people on the parent-teacher association, PTA, or teachers, is the enormous burden on the schools caused by the lack of restoration of the capitation grant. In modest demands presented to the Minister in respect of the budget, the INTO listed capitation as being critical.