In a statement, Richard Boyd Barrett TD for the People before Profit Alliance/ULA has condemned as “outrageous” the move by Clare Co. Council to deny third level grants to applicants whose parents have not paid the household charge.
Deputy Boyd Barrett said it was also unacceptable that the Minister for Education would allow Clare or any other Council to engage in this sort of bullying, with money that was not their own but which was given to them by the government specifically to provide grants for third level applicants, who were entitled to them.
Deputy Boyd Barrett called on the Minister for Education, Ruairi Quinn, to intervene in the situation and instruct Clare Co. Council and all other Council’s that such abuse of grant funding must cease immediately.
Deputy Boyd Barrett said: “It is simply disgraceful that any Council should threaten to deny any young person access to third level education in an effort to strong-arm their parents into paying an unjust austerity charge.
It really is indicative of the depths to which the government has sunk that it would allow local authorities to blackmail families over the future of their children in an effort to force them to pay a totally unjust tax.
This money does not belong to the County Councils. It is a totally separate stream of funding to the Local Government Fund which Phil Hogan has reduced. The grant funding is specifically provided for third level grants to ensure access to third level education for the children of families who could not afford it through their own resources. So, this is a despicable misuse of education funding that will, yet again, affect low income families and potentially threaten the education and career prospects of those young people.
Minister for Education, Ruari Quinn, should immediately intervene in this situation and tell Clare County Council and any other Council that is considering such action to get their hands off grant funding.”