Students at Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT) have been forced to withdraw from college because of delays in access to student grants, according to Longford/Westmeath Fianna Fáil TD Robert Troy. Deputy Troy was speaking after the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) threatened to step up its campaign of protest against the cuts to student grants, increases in student fees and the on-going crisis in the SUSI system. “Last week I attended a meeting organised by the Students’ Union at AIT and I was horrified at some of the stories,” Deputy Troy fumed. “Fr Shay Casey who is the Welfare Officer at AIT, told me there is no money left in the college’s hardship fund, and that he knows of students whose only food on a weekly basis is a bag of pasta and tomato ketchup, while they wait for grants – now this is an incredible and a serious indictment of Minister Quinn and his Government.”
The local TD went on to say that a student had also contacted his constituency office to explain in more detail why the grants crisis had resulted in his “withdrawal” from the third level education system. “A student also contacted my constituency office to tell me he was withdrawing from college because he did not have access to college facilities and could not pay his rent,” Deputy Troy continued. “Students are dropping out of college on a daily basis and the Government continues to bury its head in the sand. Students in Westmeath and Longford have been treated appallingly by Labour and Fine Gael since they got into power.”
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