USI supports students in case against Minister for Education


The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) is supporting three students who are seeking judicial review of the Minister for Education and Skills Ruairi Quinn’s decision to change the qualification criteria for the Non-Adjacent Maintenance Grant from a student’s home residence being twenty-four to forty-five kilometres away from their respective academic institution, as well as to abolish the automatic entitlement of mature students to the non-adjacent rate.

The students seeking the judicial review are Galway-Mayo IT mature student Iesha Rowan, NUI Galway student Medb McCarthy, and Dundalk IT student Robert Johnson.

Both of these changes are not being imposed solely on students who are about to enter the system, but on those who are already in the system, which is one of the main grounds of the judicial review. USI Deputy President Colm Murphy explains that when changes are normally made to the grant scheme, it is only for incoming students, “for example, in relation to the cuts in the Postgraduate Grant that happened in Budget 2012, those cuts affected students who would have been new entrants to the system in September this year. This, unusually, cut people who are already in the system.”

USI are arguing that the students had a legitimate expectation that the criteria for grants would not have changed. A provision exists within the new Student Support Act that the legal team are arguing prevents the Minister from making such changes in the first place.

“We’re not arguing that the Minister does not have the right to change the rates, clearly he does … Never before in the history of the grant system, which is about forty years old, has distance criteria been changed. For a student who is on the absolute top rate of the grant, one would have to be on a reckonable income of €22,703 or less, some or all of which would have to be part of a specified social welfare payment, so you are talking about the most vulnerable of students … Mature students were automatically on the non-adjacent rate in view of the fact that mature students in general would have other commitments that other traditional students wouldn’t have in the way of child-care, expenses of running of a family.”

USI are supporting the three students and the case itself, “we’re providing the knowledge, expertise, and institutional knowledge to the legal team as obviously they would not be as familiar as we would be with the history of the grant system.”

Murphy insists that USI’s role in the case has been extensive, “the Minister has sent back a lot of replying affidavits and we’ve worked extensively with the legal team to formulate responses to those. Myself and Gary were in court on Thursday and Friday assisting the legal team in making the case.”

Mr. Justice Hedigan has been assigned to the case. The case was heard on February 23rd and 24th and a verdict is expected back soon, though may take over a week.

7 responses to “Maria Walsh receives Foy-Zappone award from LGBTQ+ Society
  1. Interesting that this site would remove my comment pointing out flaws in the article, given the point it is trying to make about censorship and dominance. I will again ask that the writer consider what is actually happening on campus, and maybe try and hear the other side of the situation. Thank you sgain for removing my earlier comment!

  2. By the way, in the United States, “favoured” is usually spelled favored. Also, you used the word “realise” while I believe your intention was to spell the word realize. This “issue” is also not one of “free speech” and comparing it to Charlie Hebdo is grossly inaccurate and inappropriate. Drawing on the sympathies of a common and wide spread incident is not journalism and this article only seems to speak in contrast to your intentions. I am in fact a supporter of the Bulldog Weekly and you are going about this in wrong way. It seems if you were more clear headed you be able to more clearly attack this issue and work with ASUR to find a solution.

    1. Unfortunately, this was not published in the States. This is an Irish site, where British standard spelling still rules supreme.

  3. Glad to see my comment QUOTING THE REDLANDS WEBSITE about the purpose of the scholarship was taken down. Since it didn’t fit the blame the whitey storyline it had to be removed right? Have some damn integrity, you pathetic excuse for an “editor”.

  4. Does this website have any journalistic integrity? Or at least someone who proof-reads the s*** they post?

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