Sinn Féin spokesperson on Environment, Community & Local Government Brian Stanley TD has today welcomed, “An Taoiseach’s confirmation that local authorities have no right to withhold grants to third level students based on non-payment of household charges.”
Deputy Stanley said, “I raised the matter with the Taoiseach in the Dáil today. It is totally unacceptable that local authorities, including Clare County Council and South Tipperary County Council would use bullyboy tactics in their attempt to force people to pay the Household Charge. Our legal opinion would indicate that local authorities have no basis to block or to stall a grant application for third level fees. The argument of tax compliance has no basis. Nearly half (48%) of commercial water rates remain uncollected yet the children of the owners and shareholders are not singled out for punishment.
"I am glad that the Taoiseach has confirmed that local authorities are not entitled to withhold payment of grants. This will come as a relief to many students and their families. Council’s must make every effort to process these applications as soon as possible.”
In conclusion Deputy Stanley said, “Local authorities must not be allowed to punish or discriminate against any grant applicant. This behaviour will be opposed by Sinn Féin in councils where we have elected representation.”