Parents and primary school principals are concerned at the increasing amounts of money they say they have to raise for the running costs of primary schools.

A survey by the National Parents Council and the Irish Primary Principals' Network found that 75% of parents are being asked for a voluntary contribution to their children's school every year.

The online study of 3,000 parents found that the vast majority believe the State should pay the full operating costs of primary schools. But 90% of parents say that their parents' associations fundraise to cover school running costs. 33% say costs are in excess of €10,000 each year.

While 10% of parents said they could easily afford to pay the voluntary contribution they are asked for every year, 35% said they either had difficulty or could not afford to pay it all.

Almost 50% of parents said that this contribution was not anonymous and they felt pressured to pay it.

An overwhelming majority said schools should not have to pay water charges, and parents should not have to cover the costs.

The National Parents Council said the costs were making parents increasingly angry and frustrated, while the Irish Primary Principals' Network said that pretending education was free while parents contribute millions was a national disgrace.