Following the Government’s announcements of education measures as part of Budget 2016, Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson Deputy Jonathan O’Brien said that it has massively failed students currently struggling to stay in third level.
Deputy O’Brien said:
“There is a vague commitment to invest €3m in the Student Assistance Fund to provide support to struggling students however the exact figure won’t be confirmed until Spring 2016. The number of recipients of SAF monies has gone from 7,681 students in 2009 to 15,166 in 2014 which has resulted in an actual reduction in monies allocated to each student in real terms. The government cannot continue to dress up paltry sums and tell us that they’re doing vulnerable people a favour.
“Both Fine Gael and Labour told the people of Ireland that they would fight increases to student fees, and as soon as they got in to government, they failed to decrease them. It would have cost €34m to decrease the fees by €500, yet €17m was found to support Junior Cert reforms which haven’t even been agreed by one half of the teaching population.
“This budget does nothing for the students who are returning emigrants who are unlawfully being refused support based on SUSI wrongfully applying HRC rules and it won’t do anything to support students who can’t afford to stay in college because they can’t pay the registration fees.
“This budget fails students.”