Sinn Féin education spokesperson, Deputy Jonathan O’Brien TD said he is “appalled and shocked” at the decision of Clare County Council to seek proof from college grant applicants that they or their families had paid the Household Charge.
The Cork North Central TD criticised Education Minister Ruairí Quinn for describing the actions of the Clare council as “reasonable” and for suggesting other councils might introduce similar measures.
Deputy O’Brien continued: “The decision by Clare County Council to vet third level applicants is likely to breach of the rights of applicants to be independently assessed for a grant. It is yet another attempt at coercing hard pressed families into paying a grossly unfair charge that many have withheld on a point of principle.
“Increasing numbers of third level students from low and middle income families already face significant barriers when attempting to accessing higher education and for Clare County Council to make processing grants conditional on paying the Household Charge is quite simply shocking.
“With today’s recommencement of the sitting of the Dáil, Sinn Féin will be challenging Minister Quinn and his government colleague Environment Minister Phil Hogan on this matter, which is yet another example of the bully boy tactics that has characterised their efforts to enforce this indiscriminate tax.”