"Students whose parents primary income is a small business should get automatic SUSI grant this year" - Tóibín
Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín TD has called on the government to introduce a scheme whereby the sons or daughters of small business owners, who are in full time education, are granted a full SUSI grant this year.
Speaking on the topic, the Meath West TD said:
"Small business owners and in particular publicans have been left in dire straights this year, what the government promised would be a few weeks of lockdown has now amounted to over a year of restrictions. Ireland's lockdown has been longer than nearly every other EU country. The SUSI grant system is in urgent need of reform, and while I welcome the government's efforts on the issue, I don't think the sheer urgency here is being understood. One of the major flaws with the student grant system is that parental income is only taken into account for the previous year - not the current year".
Deputy Tóibín continued; "What this means is that for many students and families, whose income is derived from a small business or a pub, they've been left unemployed and in poverty this year, and yet SUSI only considers last years' income and so they are refused assistance. This is most unfair. What we Aontú are calling for now is an exception to the rule this year - to ensure that students whose parents are owners of SMEs which are closed as a result of the pandemic, would be automatically entitled to a full SUSI grant this year. I feel this is a very reasonable proposal given the extraordinary times we are living in and I will be raising the issue with the Taoiseach and the Minister for Further and Higher Education as a matter of urgency", concluded Deputy Tóibín.