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Athlone Town Council held a meeting Monday 2nd September and voted unanimously in favour of a motion asking Ruari Quinn not to cut the grant in October’s upcoming budget. The motion was submitted by Councillor Paul Hogan from Sinn Fein, who is a student himself.

Councillor Paul Hogan said:

“This Council writes to the Minister for Education and Skills and sincerely request him to protect the maintenance grant and prevent any increase to the significant cost of third level education that is already pricing many families out of education”.

Daniel Coulter, president of Athlone IT Students’ Union said:

“It is great to get local support on this issue. 38% of students rely on the grant nationally, in Athlone that figure is closer to 68%. Students can’t afford to take more cuts to the grant and the impact is more than just financial in nature, it places serious pressure on students and their families. It is good to know that our local representatives are aware of this and support measures to do something about it.”

The USI (Union of Students in Ireland) have continuously called on the Government and Minister Quinn to make sure the cost of college does not rise further when they make upcoming Budgetary decisions.

Kevin Donoghue Vice President of the Border, Midlands and Western Region of USI said:

“It is a tremendous boost to our campaign to have the support of the Athlone Town Council, we have similar motions going forward in a number of town and County Councils but Athlone Town Council is the first to pass this motion.

“I would like to thank Councillor Hogan for his support and the Council for committing to seek the protection of the grant which is designed to support the most vulnerable students. The grant has been cut in some form or fashion in the last four budgets and many families cannot afford to take another hit. The Councillors in Athlone have recognised this and it is my hope that the Minister for Education and the Government will too.”

ENDS

For more information contact USI Communications & Research Executive Grainne O’Reilly on 087-6776636, or 01-9052100

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