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McLaughlin - SDLP failed our students

12 November, 2003

Speaking from Queen's University where he and Alex Maskey met with students, Sinn Féin Chairperson Mitchel McLaughlin has said the SDLP Minister Carmel Hanna 'failed to deliver for our third level students'.

Mr. McLaughlin said:

"The SDLP have a paper policy position calling for the scrapping of student fees and the reintroduction of a maintenance grant. Yet despite holding the ministerial brief with Sean Farren and Carmel Hanna the reality is that we still have student fees and there is still no maintenance grant. Instead we have more loans, more debt and still no mechanism for widening access to third level education particularly for students from poorer backgrounds.

"There was an opportunity to close the door of student fees instead the SDLP have left the door wide open and there is a very real danger that even more students will priced out of the opportunity of studying at university. The SDLP failed our students when they had the chance to do something, It is therefore somewhat ironic that having failed our students once that they are claiming that they will now end student fees if the electorate give them the opportunity." ENDS

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