Fianna Fáil Cllr for South Tipperary, Siobhán Ambrose, has welcomed the announcement that South Tipperary County Council will now not withhold the third level grants for students whose parents have not paid the household charge.
Cllr Ambrose commented: “I find it incredible that students would have been targeted like this. Children should not be punished for the actions of their parents and I welcome the U-turn by South Tipperary County Council on this.
“South Tipperary County Council had no legal right to withhold the third level grant to students and it would have been completely inappropriate to do so. However, it just goes to show the enormous pressure that Councils are under after the Department of the Environment again cut their funding.
“On top of this, instead of standing up for students, the Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn said it was ‘reasonable’ that Councils would target the less-well off students in this way.
“It is noteworthy that South Tipperary County Council made this decision without any correspondence from either the Department of the Environment or the Department of Education. Their passive approach to this will do nothing to ease the fear that other vulnerable groups will be targeted.
“I cannot see the sense in trying to attack students in this manner in the first instance. Students who are seeking financial support for college are not homeowners themselves. Why should they be penalised because their parents can’t or won’t pay the household charge?
“This controversy has caused panic for students and their families, not just in Tipperary, but right across the country. Now, South Tipperary County Council needs to confirm they will not attempt to attack students or any other groups in this way, she said.”