A new report out today shows that the country's fee paying schools have more than 80-million euro extra to spend on their students compared with schools in the free scheme.
Analysis carried out by the Department of Education shows that cutting state support to private schools by a quarter
would still leave them with 60-million euro in the bank.
The report says if all the fee-paying schools were to ditch fees and enter the free system the extra cost to the taxpayer would be 23.5 million - much less than previous claims of more than 100 million.
However the body that represents the 55 private schools around the country says the cost to the state of educating a child in a fee paying school is almost half that of a free school.
In a statement this morning, Ferdia Kelly General Secretary of the Joint Managerial Body says if the parents of the 26,000 young people in private schools, transferred their children to free schools, the state will incur the costs of the teachers' salaries, the capital costs for buildings, and capitation grants for the running of the school.
He says a core principle of the Irish education system is the right of parental choice and fee-paying schools are part of the exercise of that choice.