NENAGH Town Council has backed a call by Cllr Seamus Morris to have the Department of Education reveal the contract Dublic City VEC received to run the new student grant scheme, SUSI.
The Sinn Fein councillor said his motion before the council was to try and get accountability on what had happened to third level students this year. Some students have yet to receive their grants.
“We have all made comments on SUSI not working,” he said
“Dublin City VEC set the goals. They have tried to shake us off and we have students who are now being asked to hand back their student cards while fees have gone up 20 per cent because grants did not arrive and they could not afford to pay on time.”
He said that someone had to “take responsibility for this debacle”, and revealed he would be looking for someone to take a class action on behalf of students who “had to walk away from college”.
He was supported by Cllr Hughie McGrath, who stated that when the grants system came under the local VEC it worked.
“Under SUSI it has collapsed. This should send a message back: if it is not broken, don’t fix it,” he said.
Cllr Virginia O’Dowd, maintained that the scheme should have been piloted within two or three counties so that difficulties might have been foreseen. She hoped the Dublin VEC contract was only a yearly one, and urged that before any more streamlining was brought in that it be piloted to make sure it was working.
Cllr Conor Delaney described the situation as “shambolic”, while Cllr Tom Moylan said it was a “tragedy people can’t go on because of finance”.