Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson, Jonathan O’Brien, TD (Cork North Central), speaking ahead of a PMB debate on the crisis relating to the online Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) system has said the Government should apologise to students for the hardship they have experienced as a result of the delays in processing thousands of grant applications.
The Cork North Central TD raised the plight of students with a delegation made up of senior personnel from The City of Dublin Vocational Education Committee (CDVEC) that has responsibility for implementing the SUSI system and who today addressed a special sitting of the Oireachtas Education Committee.
He continued: “The impact on the thousands of students who are awaiting payment of their third level grant applications can be directly attributed to Education Minister Ruairi Quinn and his Department as they have failed to properly resource the new SUSI online system. “It was clear from today’s engagement with officials’ from SUSI that a lack of resources, forward planning, and poor training has led to a crisis whereby students are being forced to drop out of their courses or being denied access to essential supports and services whilst at college. “I am also very concerned that the CEO of CDVEC, Jacinta Stewart, failed to even acknowledge that the SUSI system had failed when all of the evidence points to a system that has been an unmitigated disaster. This is an insult to parents and students alike and will engender little confidence in the ablity of SUSI to implement the necessary measures to process the thousands of outstanding third level applications.” “This was a disaster waiting to happen and Minister Quinn is ultimately responsible for what has happened and he now needs to intervene and ensure additional support is made available to clear the backlog in applications.”