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Sinn Féin President elect Mary Lou McDonald TD gives her first major speech to party activists


West Tyrone MP Pat Doherty has visited Donegal Republican, John Downey in Belmarsh Prison.

Following a visit with Donegal Republican John Downey in Belmarsh Prison this morning Sinn Féin MP Pat Doherty said:

“I visited John Downey in Belmarsh this morning and assured him of Sinn Féin’s solidarity and support. I also met with John’s solicitor Gareth Pierce and am meeting with the Irish Embassy this afternoon to raise his case with them.

“John was very relaxed and in good spirits despite the situation in which he has been placed through the latest instance of broken British commitments.

“I assured John that Sinn Féin will pursue every avenue available to us to hold the British government to its commitments and secure his release.

“John Downey is a member of Sinn Féin and a long-time supporter of the Peace Process. The decision to arrest and charge him in relation to IRA activities in the early 1980s is vindictive, unnecessary and unhelpful and is a source of anger within the Republican community.

“As part of the Weston Park negotiation the British Government committed to resolving the position of on the runs (OTRs). John Downey received a letter from the NIO in 2007 stating that he was not wanted by the PSNI or any British Police Force. Despite travelling to England on many occasions now six years on he finds himself before the courts on these historic charges.

“This development represents bad faith and a departure from what was previously agreed by both governments. I will be raising these issues with the Irish Embassy this afternoon.

“John Downey needs to be released and allowed to return home to his family.” CRÍOCH


Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD has said Minister Michael Noonan must make progress on the full retrospective recapitalisation of Ireland’s banking debt at this month’s ECOFIN and EuroGroup meetings.

Deputy Doherty said:

“It will be almost exactly a year since last June’s EuroGroup commitment to separate banking and sovereign debt.

“Progress has been painfully slow throughout the Irish Presidency and now, one year after senior ministers announced a ‘game-changer’ and a ‘seismic shift’, the Irish people are still carrying the banking debt.

“If anything the momentum is moving away from the separation of Irish banking and sovereign debt.

“Klaus Regling of the ESM is quoted this week as saying that direct bank recapitalisation by the ESM may not be able to solve all the old problems that emerged when national supervisors were in charge of the national banking systems–the so-called legacy asset problem.

“Today also sees reports of a Franco-German agreement to delay the coming into operation of the ESM until 2015.

“These are worrying statements that do not bode well for Ireland’s interests at this month’s meetings.

“It is clear the government has taken its eye off the ball for months now. Minister Noonan must refocus on this month’s meetings and ensure that the full cost of the banking debt is taken on by the ESM as soon as possible.

“Another IBRC style surrender which fails to separate banking debt from the sovereign should not be allowed to happen. Four times now the minister has announced the extensions of maturities of Irish loans but no progress on the core issue of retrospective recapitalisation of banking debt has been made.

“Anything short of that full recapitalisation as soon as possible would be another defeat for this government’s softly-softly strategy to clear the debts of our banks off the shoulders of the Irish people.”



Sinn Fein's Martina Anderson has praised the courage and determination of the Families of The New Lodge Six as she met them this week in North Belfast.

Speaking to the North Belfast News the Sinn Fein Member of the European Parliament said,

"The courage and determination shown by the families of the six unarmed young men killed by British Soldiers in the New Lodge forty years ago is truly humbling.

“Since the events of the third and fourth of February 1973 the families have demanded the truth from the British Government.

“However, it was only the perseverance of the families and the community that established the shocking facts of that night in a community enquiry held ten years ago.

“I had made contact with representatives of the families earlier this year when visiting North Belfast and promised to return and spend time with them offering my assistance and support to the campaign for truth.

“Unfortunately these circumstances of multiple killings by British regiments  at that time in the New Lodge, Derry and Ballymurphy are all too well known by the families and communities affected.

“Yet the pattern of silence by the British State at the highest levels is consistent and still continues."

Adding that there should never be any hierarchy of victims MEP Anderson said:

"This meeting is of course particularly poignant in the context of this week’s Assembly vote to discriminate against ex- prisoners and the subsequent comments about a hierarchy of victims by the SDLP leader.

“The suffering of all victims of the conflict must be addressed and saying that there is a hierarchy of victims is particularly insulting to victims of State violence.

“Huge damage has been done by these crass comments by Alasdair McDonnell  and caused real trauma to victims’ families and campaigners for truth.

“The State has an international legal obligation to protect the life of citizens and in the case of the New Lodge Six clearly that right was breached and then compounded by decades of cover up.

“I'll be doing all within my power to highlight the campaign for truth for the families of the New Lodge Six in the European Parliament in the time ahead." concluded the MEP.


Sinn Fein MEP Martina Anderson is hosting a conference tomorrow, Friday June 7th in Cavan town on the issues of youth unemployment in Ireland and the EU's 'Youth Guarantee' proposals.

Martina Anderson said:

“One of the most worrying consequences of the economic downturn across the EU is the sharp rise in youth unemployment levels, with those in both parts of Ireland hitting all-time highs, and so in this the Irish Presidency of the EU, I am holding an event on these issues in County Cavan. 

"The event is entitled 'Guarantee Our Future' and the idea is to bring together young people and their representative organizations to speak of their experiences, and along with the relevant agencies, to look at what has been proposed to date, and how effective it has been. I’m delighted to be holding this event in Co Cavan, in association with my colleague Senator Kathryn Reilly, and am very pleased that the major youth organisations will be taking part. These include the National Youth Council of Ireland, the NI Youth Forum and the National Union of Students/Union of Students of Ireland as well as the European Youth Forum. We will also have speakers from the European Commission, European Parliament and from the Young Left campaign group from Sweden, as well as Sinn Fein members of both the Assembly and Oireachtas.

 "We need leaders at EU and state level to put a focus on combating this growing problem, by fleshing out the detail of initiatives like the proposed 'Youth Guarantee' and making sure that such schemes are adequately resourced. Youth unemployment is leading to the return of the bad old days of mass youth emigration from this island - we must all work to ensure that the future options for our young people are not in Clapham or Canberra but here at home".


"Guarantee Our Future" conference will take place on Friday June 7th, in the Cavan Crystal Hotel, Cavan town.

Registration - 9.30am, opening 10am, lunch (complimentary) served at 1pm.


Speaking at the release of the May live register figures, Sinn Féin’s jobs spokesperson Peadar Tóibín said:
“Hardly a family in the state remains untouched by the everyday realities of underemployment and emigration. Full time employment is being replaced by part-time employment amongst whole swathes of Irish society leading to underemployment and poverty.
“In two years over 160,000 people have emigrated leading to families being split and the energy of youth being drained from communities.
“Ask these people what the marginal dip of one percent in unemployment means to them and how it has come about and the answer is clear.
“Ask these people what type of response is required and its will be clear that the tinkering around the edges by this government is wholly inadequate.
“There is a stark lack of ambition from government when it comes to job creation that contrasts sharply with its desire to satisfy unguaranteed, unsecured bond holders.
“It’s shocking that the interest now being paid on the National Debt on an annual basis is now over ten times the annual budget of the Department of Enterprise which is tasked with job creation. If this government meant business they would implement the Sinn Fein stimulus strategy and rectify the market distortions that close business on a daily basis.”


Commenting on speculation that the British Treasury is considering off-loading the Ulster Bank from the liabilities of its parent company, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), Sinn Féin Economy Spokesperson Daithí McKay MLA said:

“Any attempt to off-load Ulster Bank from the RBS group must be in the best interests of the customers and Irish taxpayers and not that of the British Treasury.

“We have long experience of British governments acting in their own selfish economic interests when it comes to Ireland – North or South – and this is the position that the Irish government must adopt to any proposal from the British government regarding Ulster Bank.

“Sammy Wilson must also spell out what his "other options" apart from an Irish government takeover are and discuss them in detail with the entire Executive and not just a cosy talk with party colleague, Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster.

"Why would the Irish government even consider transferring the ‘bad’ arm of RBS - Ulster Bank - into NAMA to facilitate the recovery of RBS at the expense of additional burden on Irish taxpayers?

“As Chair of the Finance and Personnel Committee I will be seeking clarification from the Ulster Bank on its future plans to address the extent of its debts and provide reassurance of its future viability.”


Martina Anderson MEP has expressed concern over the future of rural development funding in the north, following the circulation of draft EU budget proposals the Sinn Féin MEP said

"The draft figures released by the commission show that the British government has agreed to a huge reduction of 22% in real terms, the biggest reduction any member state will experience. Those trying to spin it will say that the percentage allocation has remained more or less the same however, when we look at the figures the huge reduction we will experience is obvious.

"The reason for this is the consistent lack of will from the British government to contribute match funding for rural development. This failure to fight for a larger allocation is demonstrative of the budget-cut driven ethos of the current British government and will mean big losses for all those who rely on rural development funds.

"This will have devastating impacts for communities in the north who have relied on this funding to modernise and ensure their future. In fact many were hoping for a bigger allocation given that there was a strong case to be made for a bigger allocation, especially considering the continuing austerity measures advocated by the EU and heads of national governments.

"The devolved administration in the north received no forewarning or communication regarding these drastic cuts.

"I have fought against budgetary austerity both in the Assembly and in the European Parliament and yet many heads of state in Europe refuse to see another path.

"These are only draft figures, and I sincerely hope to see a shift in thinking before the final allocation is decided, however given the late stage in the negotiations, this is unlikely.”


Commenting on the latest Life and Times survey Sinn Féin’s Conor Murphy MP (Newry/Mourne) said it does not explore or reflect options for Irish Unity and therefore is not a true picture of the spectrum of opinion.

Conor Murphy said:

“The Life and Times (L&T) survey tells us very little about perceptions of Irish Unity.  It focuses attention only on either the maintenance of the status quo or subsuming the northern administration into the current 26 county administration.  It does not explore other legitimate, necessary, viable alternatives.

“It fails to explore other more attractive alternatives to the status quo in either state. To extrapolate support for the present political institutions in the north into some type of endorsement for the union with Britain is disingenuous.    

“Even using the very limited parameters in which this survey is based, with its questions skewed towards identifying support for the union, the fact that support has dropped by 11% since the last survey in 2010, and that only 42% of young people have indicated that the north will remain as part of Britain in the long-term clearly indicates that opinion is shifting towards alternatives. 

“Combined with a recent poll in the South showing 64% support for Irish Unity the figures would suggest that the debate on Irish Unity has already begun.  Could this be the reasons that comment, from those who in the past have been quick to use the L&T surveys as signifying support for the Union are so mute in their response this time?

“It is time to stop relying on subjective polls such as the L&T survey and call the only exercise that will definitively gauge true opinion – let’s have a proper debate on the merits and demerits of the status quo versus Irish Unity, hold a Border Poll and let the people decide.”


Speaking from Leinster House today, Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh described changes announced by Minister Joan Burton in relation to rent supplement as an admission that Sinn Féin’s charge that previous changes to Rent Allowance thresholds would leave family homes vulnerable, was correct.
The Sinn Féin social protection spokesperson said:
“I have had frequent discussions with the Minister since last year about this and called on Joan Burton to be realistic about the rents being sought for private dwellings in Dublin.
“The unrealistic rent allowance thresholds being imposed by her department have caused a huge level of stress among families dependent on rent allowance to keep a roof over their heads. It also encouraged the illegal practice of under-the-counter top-up cash payments to landlords.
“The solution to the huge rent allowance bill for the taxpayer is to acquire more social housing, whether to build, purchase or lease them. This can be cost effective in many ways; the annual rent allowance bill would be addressed; it would increase stability in people’s lives; and it would help break the poverty trap which acts as a deterrent to some people returning to work as they fear they would lose their rent allowance.
“The Minister has also today acknowledged that it was wrong to “arbitrarily take €450 million out of the economy” when speaking about demands to further cut the social welfare budget. I have reminded the minister, at each budget since she took office, that her cuts to social welfare severely affected not only the distressed social welfare recipient but also local economies in which people live. It has a national effect in reducing demand and costing jobs, thus adding more people to the dole queues.
“I am calling on the minister, not only to commit to not imposing the €450m cut to social welfare budget, but to reverse many of her cuts, thus acting as a stimulus package for local economies and the national economy as Sinn Féin had proposed in our recent pre-budget submissions.
“I welcome the Minister’s new-found understanding of the effects of her budget cuts, but I and others will watch to see if this is just more Labour spin, like their election promises. There is a lot of bluster, but at the end of the day will she dance to Fine Gael’s tune?”


Commenting on news of the death of Ruairí Ó Brádaigh, Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD said:

“Ba mhaith liom mo chomhbhrón a dhéanamh leis an gclann ar fad Ruairí O Bradaigh.

“It is with sadness that I have heard the news of the death of Ruairí Ó Brádaigh.

“On behalf of Sinn Fein, I want to extend my sincere condolences to his family and friends.

“Whatever differences we may have shared on political matters Ruairí was a life-long activist who was committed to his principles.

“Go ndeanfaidh Dia trócaire ar a n’anam dílis.”



Sinn Féin Seanad Leader David Cullinane has stated that the publication of a constitutional amendment bill to abolish the Seanad is premature.

Speaking today the Sinn Féin spokesperson on Political Reform reiterated his party’s view that the matter needs to be referred to the Constitutional Convention.

He said;

“Sinn Féin believes that the Seanad as currently constituted is deeply undemocratic and elitist. We do not believe that it can continue to function in its current form.

“However, the government has taken an ill-considered and rash approach to the question of the future of the Seanad. In recent weeks we have heard various ideas floated, before being dropped, including a high powered committee to scrutinise legislation, consisting entirely of appointees. This illustrates the desire of the government to do away with as many checks and balances as possible.

“Today the government has published legislation which will allow for a constitutional amendment to be put to the people to decide whether to abolish the Seanad or not.

“Simple abolition, without even allowing the opportunity to discuss considering reform is foolhardy.

“We have continually argued that the question of the future of the Seanad needs to be referred to the Constitutional Convention.”

“This is the appropriate place to consider whether we need a second chamber, what is the purpose of a second chamber, and what role, if any, a second chamber could usefully fulfil.

“It is a representative body, which is largely made up of ordinary citizens, which would allow for a wide ranging discussion. If the Constitutional Convention were to discuss such matters, and conclude that the question should be put to the people in any case, then so be it.

“However, in the absence of such a discussion, I believe the publication of such legislation is premature.

“Recently the government allowed the Seanad Reform Bill 2013 to pass second stage. If they were to be consistent in their approach, they would defer the discussion of this legislation, and they would refer this matter to the Constitutional Convention.”



Sinn Fein Youth affairs spokesperson Senator Kathryn Reilly today launched the Guarantee Our Future conference which will take place in the Cavan Crystal Hotel on Friday June 7th. The conference will hear the views of Irish and European politicians, youth organisations and the European Commission on the youth unemployment crisis. The conference will also focus on the need for a Youth Guarantee in Ireland.

Senator Reilly said:

“The latest youth unemployment figures from the CSO make for depressing reading.

“53,800 people under the age of 25 are officially unemployed. There are 24,100 less young people in employment now compared to this time last year.

“Since Fine Gael and Labour took office the number of young people in the labour force has shrunk by 14%. That 34,100 under 25s no longer in the labour force.

“While some of these people have gone into full time education and training, the vast majority have emigrated, in search of work. Others have also disengaged from local employment services completely.

“The cost of youth unemployment is massive. According to one study, the economy loses €3.6b annually as a result of our high levels of youth unemployment.

“There is a need for greater urgency from Government to stem the tide of youth unemployment. The implementation of a state-wide ‘Youth Guarantee’ scheme must be a central part of this.

“The ‘Guarantee Our Future’ conference that I am hosting in Cavan this Friday will hear from Irish and European experts on the issue of youth unemployment and youth guarantees. The purpose of the conference is to inform people of some of the practical steps that can be taken to address youth unemployment.

“Later this month, I will submit a detailed report on the need for a Youth Guarantee to the Joint Committee on EU Affairs, which I hope will play a positive role in informing the Governments actions on this issue in the time ahead.”


Conference Details

Guarantee Our Future

A forum for discussion on youth unemployment and the Youth Guarantee

Friday June 7th, Cavan Crystal Hotel, Cavan Town

Registration 9.30

10.25: Youth guarantees across the EU – speakers from European Commission, Portugal, Sweden and the European Youth Forum

11.45: An Irish Youth Guarantee – speakers from National Youth Council of Ireland, NI Youth Federation and NUI-USI


Sinn Féin’s Martina Anderson MEP has expressed concern over the future of rural development funding for the north following the circulation of draft EU budget proposals.

Martina Anderson said:

"Once again the British Government has accepted a reduction in its rural development payments

"Draft figures released by the commission show that the British government has agreed to a 2% allocation of total funding, a decrease on present levels of over €43million by 2020.

"The failure of the British government to push for higher levels of funding is in line with its agenda of cuts to the EU budget and its refusal to contribute match funding for rural development. This will result in severe pressure on Rural projects in the North.

"It will have devastating impacts for communities who rely on this funding to modernise and plan for the future.

"Sinn Féin has fought against the austerity policies of the British and Irish governments as well as at European level and will continue to do so. This is another attack on communities that are already suffering economic hardships.

"While these are only draft figures, it is a worrying signal and I sincerely hope to see a shift in British government and commission thinking before the final allocations are decided.”


Sinn Féin's spokesperson on Environment, Community & Local Government, Brian Stanley TD, has said it is outrageous that Bray Town Council has refused to meet two housing applicants in the presence of their local elected representative.

Deputy Stanley said the council’s position breaches the applicants’ right to democratic representation and called on Minister Phil Hogan to comment on the matter and ensure this does not happen again.

Speaking today Deputy Stanley said;

“Yesterday Bray Town Council made an extraordinary decision to refuse to meet two housing applicants in the presence of their local elected representative, Sinn Féin Councillor John Brady.

“This position is in breach of Councillor Brady’s democratic right to represent his constituents and also the right of the two housing applicants to democratic representation.

“This is an outrageous position for the council to take and I am calling on Minister Phil Hogan to comment on the matter and ensure this does not happen again.

“Council officials are public servants. They are there to serve the public and fulfil their public duties. It is important that Bray Town Council and other councils get the message that this type of behaviour is not acceptable.

“I am aware that Councillor Brady is taking legal advice on the matter.”



Sinn Fein spokesperson for social protection, Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh today has tabled a range of amendments designed to improve the quality of life for the most vulnerable people who are dependent on the social welfare system. He proposed amendments to the Social Welfare and Pensions (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2013.
The Dublin South Central TD said:
“I have tabled a range of amendments to this Bill which would improve not only the functionality of the social welfare system but also the quality of life for the most vulnerable people in society who are dependent on it.
“I have suggested a rule that would ensure the Social Welfare Appeals Office would respond to appeals within 21 days of receiving an application, reimbursements of social welfare payments by employers who are found guilty of unfair dismissal, as well as an amnesty for social welfare overpayments. Further to this I have proposed increases to the Back to Education Clothing and Footwear Allowance and a Cost of Education Allowance which if passed, would greatly ease the burden on those returning to education in September.
“I welcomed the Minister’s decision to finally acknowledge that retained firefighters should be entitled to social welfare payments but it is essential that they assessed on their current application so that they are not denied their back payments. They are entitled to this payment.
“I have also proposed an amendment to reverse the previous changes made to the One Parent Family Payment. Women are shouldering the burden of the recession and the changes that the Minister have negative impact on them and they must be reversed, especially now that the Minister has recognised that the delivery of Scandinavian model of childcare that the changes to One Parent Family Payment were predicated on is a long way off.”


Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty has called on the government to allow for the passage of his Interest Rates Approval Bill through the Dáil after AIB increase its variable interest rates by 0.4% today.

Deputy Doherty said his bill would prevent banks from increasing their rates without the approval of the financial regulator.

He said;

“Last week I published the Interest Rates Approval Bill 2013 to prevent banks that have been bailed out with public money from adjusting their interest rates without the approval of the financial regulator.

“AIB’s 0.4% increase in its variable interest rate came into effect today. This will have an impact 70,000 mortgage holders many of whom are already struggling to get by.

“It will mean an extra payment of €66 per month or €800 per year for someone on a €200,000 mortgage.

“Meanwhile the government sits on its hands and does nothing.

“In 2011 the government said it would legislate to force banks to pass on ECB rate reductions but it failed to live up to this commitment.

“I believe the government should now allow for the passage of my bill or bring forward similar legislation in order to ensure that struggling mortgage holders are not forced to take any more financial hits.

“My bill would force the financial regulator to weigh up not only the interests of the banks but also of the taxpayers when making decisions on interest rate hikes.

“The government must do more to help struggling mortgage holders who footed the bill to bailout the banks.”



Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has called for all data from pharmaceutical and other medical tests to be transparent and accessible to medical professionals.

Martina Anderson said:

“Clinical trials are among the most robust and durable sources of scientific information, generating knowledge to save lives.  Clinical trials are the bedrock of scientific medicine, however, the lack of transparency and availability of data from these trials can have negative implications for the health and wellbeing of many.

“As it stands, big pharmaceutical companies retain control over data from clinical trials.  They can therefore decide what clinical information they wish to make public. It allows for suppression of unfavourable findings and publishing only those clinical results complimentary to their products. ‘Big Pharma’ represents over 300 lobbyists at the European Parliament, paid to ensure that research findings which may negatively impact on profits receive the minimum amount of exposure.

“What does this mean for the medical profession and for the health and wellbeing of the general population? It means that medical professionals may not have access to the full information required to assess the most appropriate and safest treatments for patients. Not being in possession of complete data on specific drugs can impede the ability of professional medical personnel when making crucial decisions regarding patient care or deciding Health budgets.

“These concerns are supported by the fact that 90% of prescribed medicines don't work for 30-50% of people largely because of their genotype. This results in wasteful spending of finite resources and poor health care for the patient.

“The Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee of the EU recently voted on proposals to increase the transparency of clinical trials.  I supported this position and along with others achieved an improved EU directive relating to transparency.  This is a step in the right direction but we must go further. Lobbyists such as ‘Big Pharma’ cannot be allowed to hold the power to influence decision makers in Europe through release of incomplete data from clinical trials.

“It is past time that we put the health and welfare of people above the profiteering of powerful industries and their lobbyists.”


Deputy Michael Colreavy, Sinn Féin spokesperson for communications, energy and natural resources there have been a worrying number of gas and electricity disconnections in 2012.
Speaking following the release of the Commission for Energy Regulation’s Electricity and Gas Retail Markets Annual Report for 2012, Deputy Colreavy said:
“Over 14,000 homes were disconnected from electricity in 2012 and over 7,000 homes were disconnected from gas. The number of gas disconnections has increased by 82%.
“This is a startling number. Many families are unable to provide heat and light in their homes.
“The Commission for Energy Regulation must act to introduce guidelines to allow families to budget their electricity and gas usage better.
“Currently only customers in significant arrears can avail of the pre-pay metering system. Customers who are not in arrears must use private companies to install prepay meters on which they pay a charge, resulting in higher energy costs.
“Prepay meters must become available to all customers should they wish to use them. This would help families to better manage their electricity and gas bills and avoid so many households falling into debt and resulting in disconnections.
“Fuel poverty is an issue that must be taken seriously by this government and the number of disconnections must be significantly reduced.”


Sinn Féin education spokesperson, Jonathan O’Brien TD, has expressed his good wishes to the thousands of students from across the country who today started their Junior and Leaving Cert exams.

Deputy O’Brien said:

“I wish all of the students who this morning started their Leaving and Junior Cert exams the very best of luck, and every success for the future.

“During the next two weeks, over 90 curricular subjects will be sat at Higher, Ordinary and Foundation levels and I would like to commend all the hard work of pupils and the dedication of their teachers who have spent the past number of years preparing for these exams.

“Anyone taking their Leaving and Junior Cert should avail of the advice and support from teachers and parents in order to remain as focused and well prepared as possible during what can be a stressful time.

“I have no doubt that this year’s Leaving and Junior Cert students will do themselves and their schools proud and that the results they achieve will enhance their future employment prospects in the time ahead.”


The refusal of education minister, Ruairí Quinn TD, to guarantee that all students attending college in the new academic year will have received the first payment of their third level grants by Christmas has been described as “very worrying” by Cork North Central TD, Jonathan O’Brien.
Deputy O’Brien, who is Sinn Féin education’s spokesperson, was responding to comments made by the Minister in an interview today with RTE’s Morning Ireland programme.
He continued: “Minister Quinn has stated that the online system for processing third level grants, Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) will function better in the months ahead but on the day thousands of students begin their Leaving and Junior Cert exams the minister was non-committal that the first instalment of third level grants will be paid before Christmas.
“This is very worrying, particularly after serious flaws in how SUSI functioned in the past 12 months resulted in its failure to process thousands of grant applications. The resulting hardship this caused students meant many struggled to pay for the basic essentials and some were forced to drop out of college.
“A repeat of that debacle, for which Minister Quinn, was forced to apologise, cannot be repeated.
“The recent independent review into SUSI that has put forward a number of recommendations must be fully implemented. To achieve this, the Department of Education and Skills must ensure adequate resources are in place so that SUSI can process third level grant applications on time.
“There can be no repeat of what happened last year and it is incumbent on the minister to ensure the serious flaws which affected SUSI are rectified so that students can concentrate on their studies at college without worrying when or if they will receive payment of their grants.”


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