Author: Union of Students in Ireland (USI)

USI calls on Leo Varadkar to change BTEA restrictions to help lone parents like Erica Fleming

The Union of Students in Ireland is calling on Minister for Social Protection, Leo Varadkar, to change the BTEA (Back to Education Allowance) restriction to allow more single parents to progress to third level education, like Erica Fleming, a homeless mother-of-one who was offered a place in Trinity College via the Trinity Access Programme, but who was rejected for BTEA, which she needs to attend college. USI said while the SUSI grants help so many families, and the BTEA is a vital resource for mature learners, the stark truth is that any rules that allow clearly deserving people like...

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USI calls on political parties to honour their commitments in their GE manifestos and bring back postgrad grants

  The Union of Students in Ireland is calling on political parties to honour their commitments to in their general election manifestos and work to reinstate postgraduate grants, following Fianna Fáil’s recent public support for their reintroduction. USI said the Green Party, Labour, Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin, Social Democrats and AAA/PBPA all committed to the reintroduction of postgraduate grants in their manifestos. Fine Gael did not commit to the reintroduction of postgraduate grants in their GE manifestos, but USI is calling on Fianna Fáil to work with parliamentary colleagues to ensure these grants are brought back. “Since the postgraduate...

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Letter to Mr Leo Varadkar T.D. Minister for Social Protection

Mr Leo Varadkar T.D. Minister for Social Protection Department of Social Protection, Government Office Store Street, Dublin 1     9th August 2016   Dear Minister, We write with reference to the now well-publicised decision of your department to refuse the Back to Education Allowance (BTEA) to Erica Fleming, a homeless single parent who is currently raising her daughter in a hotel. As you know, education has a transformative quality. Education takes people out of poverty and dependence and gives them options in multiple fields of employment. Education quite literally changes lives. We are asking that Erica have the opportunity...

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USI welcomes establishment of new body which aims to reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness

  The Union of Students in Ireland has welcomed the establishment of a new body, The National Taskforce on Youth Mental Health, which aims to increase awareness of, and reduce the stigma surrounding, mental illness. According to the Mental Health Reform’s ‘A Vision for Change’, there was an 8% increase last year in the waiting list cases in the Children and Adolescents Mental Health Services (CAMHS) from the year before. USI Vice-President for Welfare, Cian Power, will be representing USI and third level students on the taskforce, following the continued work and dedication from USI on mental health on campaigns...

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USI welcomes funding for Student Housing Project Manager to Find Solution for Student Housing Crisis

  The Union of Students in Ireland has welcomed the allocation of €49,000 in support of the appointment of a Student Housing Project Manager to help identify additional student housing, including ‘digs’ and lodgings in private homes, as the next academic year approaches. Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, Simon Coveney, and Minister for Housing and Urban Renewal, Damien English, announced the allocation of the funds after launching Rebuilding Ireland, the Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness; and after USI re-launched its website, homes.usi.ie, a website where homeowners can sign up to let spare bedrooms to students for...

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