Speaking on the potential introduction of a student loan scheme following a government commissioned report on third level funding, Sinn Féin TD for Donegal Pádraig Mac Lochlainn has said that saddling students with debt is not a substitute for a decent grant system.
Deputy Mac Lochlainn warned: “It is Sinn Féin’s position that education should be free and that the current grant system should be enhanced and reformed so that it is fair and equitable.
“We believe that that an educated, vibrant workforce is key to rebuilding our economy. As such, it is essential that young people are encouraged to upskill and become educated at third level.
“The government should not create barriers or deterrents in our educational system.
“Over the past number of the years, the grant system has been chipped away with the government changing the rules to exclude greater numbers of people or give them less support, for example, by changing the adjacent and non-adjacent rate.
“We do not want to see a situation whereby the government introduce a loan system that effectively eradicates the grant scheme by stealth, so we have major concerns about these proposals.
“We welcome the publication of the report and will provide further comment when we have the detail of the proposals in full.”