10 April 2021
By Tom Collins
Fianna Fáil MEP, Billy Kelleher has said that the state should cover the mandatory hotel quarantine costs of Erasmus students returning to Ireland.
Kelleher was commenting after receiving representations from his party’s youth organisation, Ógra Fianna Fáil, requesting support for students on official Erasmus programmes.
“If the medical advice is that they should spend time in mandatory quarantine, then it is very hard to argue with this change. However, what does need discussion is the significant financial cost quarantining in a hotel students and their families will have to incur.
“Ógra has suggested that the students’ sending institution i.e. their IT or university should pay the hotel bill up front, and then receive a refund from the Department of Higher Education. There is, I believe, significant merit in their proposal and it warrants discussion at government level.
“Erasmus students went abroad last September, supported by their educational institutions, and in many situations, funded by the Irish State, in good faith.
“There are about 850 Irish students currently abroad on Erasmus. Not all of them would be required to quarantine in a hotel so the cost to the State would be negligible.
“I believe Ógra President, Bryan Mallon has written to Minister Harris, and I would urge the Government to look favourably on their proposals,” concluded Kelleher.