The Minister for Education Mr. Ruairi Quinn TD and his Government colleagues have no mandate to make any changes to the student finance arrangements following his pre- election Pledge, according to South Tipperary Independent TD Mattie McGrath.
“The Minister for Education signed a pledge in front of thousands of students prior to the election and now he is stating that the Government are no longer in control of their finances and that he cannot guarantee the pledge that he made.
“However the Minister was well aware of the financial situation prior to the election and had no authority to sign such a pledge if he could not keep it.”
The Students Union of Ireland President Mr. Garry Redmond said that the USI had registered 15,000 students to vote in the election and “not only those students but their families, friends and parents — their votes were swayed by this as well”.
Deputy McGrath has said that “thousands of students voted for Ruairi Quinn and his labour party colleagues in good faith and I don’t believe that so many students would have voted for the Labour Party if Minister Quinn had refused to sign this pledge.
“Therefore I believe that the Government do not have a mandate to make any changes to the Student Fees or Grants.”
“It is unacceptable that this Government can continue to break every election pledge that they made. We were all aware of the financial circumstances prior to the election yet they insisted on making promises that they could not guarantee to buy votes.
“At a time when so many difficult decisions have to be made, the public who are suffering so much must be able to trust their Government, however, as this Government continue to break every election promise there is very little chance of any trust and respect remaining.”
“For the Government to say that we are no longer in control of our finances so we can’t keep this promise is quite simply offensive to the people that voted for them on the grounds of these promises. “
“The future of this Country lies with our Students and they must be protected from these cuts.
“The introduction of college fees, the increase of the Student Contribution or the reduction of the Student Grant are unacceptable measures and must be off limits if we want our Country to prosper again and I am calling on this Government to consider their mandate when it comes to Student Fees at budget time.” concluded McGrath.