Thousands of families will be affected by the provision in yesterday’s budget to dramatically reduce the proportion of students qualifying for the ‘non-adjacent’ rate of student maintenance grant by changing qualifying criteria from 24km to 45km.
Up until yesterday, any student who qualified for a maintenance grant, and whose family address was more that 24km from their campus, would receive the full amount of €3250.
Now, thanks to Fianna Fail, only those whose family address is 45km or more from the college, will qualify for full payment . The maximum that anybody else can receive will be €1250.
The example of the LYIT in Letterkenny, it is so important to the future development of education and skills in the Donegal area in providing sustainable employment for the county.
What it means is that payment to thousands of families who live between 24 and 45km from their child’s place of education will be slashed by 62 per cent. This will be devastating for working families who have already been subjected to increases in taxes, hikes in charges and reductions in services, as a result of this budget
The decision will have a serious impact in areas that I am familiar with such as Buncrana, which is 41 km form Letterkenny ,and much of south Inishowen and perhaps areas in Fanad and the Finn Valley .Essentially the government is penalising parents who have done the right thing by ensuring that their children make it to third level. In what way is this equitable Minister? In what way is this fair?
This Budget is being forced through by a lame-duck Government that has absolutely no mandate to inflict these swingeing cuts on people who had no hand act or part in creating the economic mess that we are now in.
It is Fianna Fail that has inflicted such immense damage on our economy and on our public finances – damage that may take years to repair – and it is time for them to go.