Parents may face instant fines for taking kids out of school for a holiday


Parents who take their children out of school to go on foreign holidays or skiing breaks could soon face on-the-spot fines of up to €100 a day, the AD said on Friday.

The public prosecution department is considering giving school attendance officers the power to issue fines to parents directly, rather than wait for the offence to be first studied by justice ministry officials.

Cases involving several days ‘illegal’ holiday, tacked on to the end of regular holidays, are complicated to protest and cost more than they bring in in terms of fines, the department says. And simplifying the procedures would raise more money which local authorities can put back into education.

In the 2015-16 school year, the latest for which figures are available, officials dealt with over 6,000 reports of ‘luxury absenteeism’. Most parents get a warning for their first offence and are summoned to appear before magistrates if caught for a second time.

The department plans to start trials of the new system in a couple of council areas as soon as possible, the AD said.