West Cavan Fianna Fáil Councillor, John Paul Feeley has called for the return of responsibility for Third Level Grants to local authorities after the disaster of the centralised SUSI System.
Speaking in the light of the huge delays in processing applications for Third Level Grants which will see many students wait until after Christmas for payment of their Grants, the Fianna Fáil Councillor has called for SUSI to be dismantled.
‘We have seen, yet again, Government setting up a centralised bureaucracy that has failed to deliver, that is inefficient, ineffective, incompetent and inaccessible. I have attempted to contact SUSI a number of times and have not received a reply. When these matters were dealt with by County Councils, officials had a local knowledge and adopted a practical approach to assessing applications. All common-sense has gone from the system.’
Students across the country who have applied for the Third Level Maintenance Grant are facing long waits for much needed grant aid, people who by definition are not in a position to support themselves financially, all away from home for the first time. Many of the families involved are already hard-pressed to meet their existing financial commitments.
Councillor Feeley, demanding urgent action has said that the Minister for the Education, Ruairi Quinn TD issuing an apology amounted to ‘Wessel Words.’
“An apology from the Minister won’t pay the rent, won’t pay the bus-fare, won’t pay the food bill, and won’t pay the library bill. The Minister needs to follow the apology up with action and insist that SUSI gets it act together, puts sensible and practical procedures in place to get grants approved and payments issued.’
‘When these Grant Schemes were administered locally, an applicant and, I as a public representative could meet a relevant official and ensure that the matters could be dealt with in a sensible and practical matter.
“I am calling that this responsibility be returned to the County Council. SUSI is another example of how centralising services has reduced the level of service to the people rather than increase it,’ concluded Councillor Feeley.
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