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Government action needed on student grant chaos – Morgan

17 November, 2009

Speaking today in the Dáil, Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Arthur Morgan reiterated his party’s call for immediate government action on the chaos that has been ongoing within VECs and County Councils in the distribution of student grants.

Deputy Morgan questioned the possibility of realising the potential of the Smart Economy, when the Government are so shamefully neglecting the country's valuable human resources.

Deputy Morgan said:

“There is a pressing need for the Minister for Education and Science to take immediate steps to resolve the difficulties in VECs and Local Authorities across the state whereby, due to the unprecedented number of student grant applications, the recruitment embargo placed on both bodies and the unavailability of overtime, many students will now have to wait until January to receive their first student grant payments.

“What is most disturbing about this situation is the calamitous effect this is having on students. Due to the delay on student grant payments, many students are defaulting on rent, unable to purchase vital college books, equipment and supplies and many students currently attending 3rd level institutions are unregistered leaving them without access to crucial services.

“How can we build the Smart Economy when we are shamefully neglecting our valuable human resources?”

Speaking later Deputy Morgan said:

“The Government is cutting its nose off despite its face and it is the people who are suffering. Most students depend on this grant and without it have no alternative but to drop out of college altogether and join the rest of the country on the dole queues. This is not a world-class education system and we will not foster a knowledge economy this way.

“The Government and the Minister for Education and Science especially need to get their act together before thousands of students are forced unjustly out of education. Emergency resources need to be deployed to ensure that no families or students miss out on their third level education.” ENDS

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