Fianna Fáil Senator Denis O’Donovan has slammed the Minister for Transport after he confirmed that the 350 students who lost huge sums of money following the collapse of the Private Training College (PTC) in Waterford will not receive any state assistance.

Senator O’Donovan raised the plight of the PTC students during an emergency debate in the Seanad last night where he questioned Minister Varadkar about the collapse of the PTC.

“There are many questions that have not been answered in this whole sorry affair,” said Senator O’Donovan.

“The Minister has admitted that as much as €10 million may have been lost by students, who paid an average of €85,000 each for the course. One such student who is a constituent of mine, had help from his mother who put her life savings into the PTC and is now left with nothing.

“For many of the students this was their life’s dream and to have it so cruelly taken away from them is heart breaking.  This Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) has a lot of questions to answer here, they were the regulatory body that granted PTC the licence to operate. The IAA also had to ensure that the company had sufficient resources to safely provide the training. It is obvious now that the PTC never had the resources available for the students to complete the course, so the IAA’s role in this needs to be further scrutinised.

“It seems to me that there was light touch regulation here and the IAA should have raised a red flag well advance of the company collapsing. There may even be a case to explore whether the PTC were involved in reckless trading, which would then be a matter for the Gardaí. 

“The Minister has conceded that the Government will not provide the resources to rescue these students. Surely some arrangements can be arrived at between the IAA and the Government whereby the students can finish their training and get their pilot licences.

“These students and their families are at their wit’s end, the Minister’s response will be of cold comfort to them and I sincerely hope all is not lost for hundreds of families affected by this.”