Fianna Fáil TD for Clare Timmy Dooley, has called on the Minister for the Environment to clarify whether he supports a decision by Clare County Council to ask college applicants for the student grant to prove their parents have paid the household charge.
Deputy Dooley was responding to confirmation by Clare County Council that they have sent letters to students applying for a third level grant for proof their parents or guardians have paid the household charge.
“I find it incredible that students would be targeted like this. Children should not be punished for the actions of their parents.
“Clare County Council has no legal right to withhold the third level grant to students. However, it just goes to show the enormous pressure that Councils are under after the Department of the Environment again cut their funding.
“The Minister for the Environment needs to show some leadership here and emphasise the legal issues surrounding the withholding of these grants. Is it a proportionate response by the Council? Does he support this decision? Does the Minister intend to put in place legislation to give legal effect to the measures taken by Clare County Council? All these questions need immediate answers from the Minister.
“Even though they are under enormous pressure, this is not the right way for Clare County Council to go about making up the shortfall in the local government grant.
The Council were subject to a cut of €250,000 in their grant and in essence they have been forced into this by Minister Hogan.
“Students will be depending on their grants and having already been approved for the payments, the money needs to be paid without further delay.”