YOUNG UNIVERSITY STUDENTS HIGHLIGHT ISSUES OF CONCERN
Newry and Armagh MLA Mickey Brady has said that the tragic death of young Bessbrook student Shauna Mc Cann in January and the subsequent treatment of her grieving family has highlighted major issues of concern in relation to student accommodation and tenancy agreements.
The MLA, speaking at a meeting organised by local young University students to discuss the areas of concern and means of addressing them stated
"Shauna McCann died tragically in January 2008 whilst a student at Hope University in Liverpool. Her parents have and continue to be pressurized relentlessly by the letting agent involved for money for rent, allegedly outstanding. That is the unfortunate potential reality facing other parents and students as well as the Mc Cann family"
"Shauna's death has ensured that parents like myself who are fortunate enough to have our sons or daughters going to University, now check every piece of accommodation and tenancy agreements before signing them. Parents normally act as guarantors for the accommodation. Unfortunately the issue of a student having to suddenly leave their accommodation because of serious illness or death has not at this minute been properly addressed. The family affected by such a thing happening is still reliant on the agent or Landlord acting in a compassionate manner".
"There is still a genuine anger amongst many of these young students, some who knew Shauna personally, about the treatment of the family and the ongoing situation. However they all agreed that the young student's death has ensured that they must be alert to these types of issues".
He concluded by stating that he still was pursuing the matter with Employment and Learning Minister Reg Empey.
Mayor of Newry and Mourne Council Colman Burns who also attended the gathering to publicly portray his concerns about the issues involved appealed to all students to be aware of issues that they could potentially encounter in relation to accommodation and tenancy agreements.
"The family of this young local student Shauna McCann who died suddenly whilst attending University in Liverpool has been treated abysmally by the Housing Letting agent and the landlord of her shared student accommodation. I would appeal to all students and their parents or guardians to use all resources available to access legal information on rental and sublet agreements, and tenant law" said the Mayor