Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Education and Skills, Charlie McConalogue TD, has welcomed the admission today from Minister Ruairí Quinn that he got it wrong in relation to the administration of SUSI.
Deputy McConalogue commented: “All year students had to listen to Government Ministers trying to lay the blame for delays in SUSI at their door. Delays were primarily blamed on claims that students were sending in the wrong or incomplete documentation, which caused huge frustration for the thousands of students that submitted the correct forms.
“Today, Minister Quinn finally admitted that he got it wrong and the primary responsibility for the fiasco lay with him and his Department.
“In response to my Dáil question, Minister Quinn admitted that half of the students in receipt of a grant, 19,494 students, were not paid their first grant installation until after the New Year.
“This left many families in very real financial hardship and even led to some students dropping out of college. This was a shocking indictment of the system and its mismanagement.
“The recently published review of SUSI identified a delay in allocating the agreed number of staff as a problem which contributed to the delays. It is imperative that Minister Quinn ensures this is not repeated this year.
“I welcome the fact that Minister Quinn has said he will not take his “eye off the ball this year”.
“It is crucial that the lessons from last year are learned so that students going to college this September can have the confidence that they will receive the grant on time without undue delay.”