O’Brien gets ‘positive response’ from Minister on free travel for students

Local Independent councillor, Michael O’Brien, says he has received a “positive response” from the Department of Social Protection and Minister Leo Varadkar in relation to his calls for free transport for full-time students attending college.

Councillor O’Brien originally made the call last month and has since undertaken correspondence with Minister for Transport, Shane Ross, Deputy for Longford-Westmeath, Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran, and with Deputy Leo Varadkar, under whose Department such a remit falls.

Councillor O’Brien said he believes the introduction of such a measure would be “a considerable step in the right direction” in helping students and their parents meet the rising costs of third level education.

“The costs of third level education are ever growing and becoming unsustainable for many students and their parents,” he said. “According to a recent survey conducted by the students union of Ireland, 87 per cent of students fear having to drop out because of the rising costs.

“Public transport is something that is highly utilised by students and adds up to a considerable amount of money by the end of the college year. I would like to see the same free travel scheme that applies to old age pensioners being given to all full-time students. This is something that I think is very realistic and would be a positive way for the Government to help reduce the extreme financial burden on students and their parents.

“I have received a positive response to my calls in a recent letter to the Transport Minister, Shane Ross TD, Minister for Social Protection, Leo Varadkar, and my local Independent colleague for Longford-Westmeath, Deputy Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran. The administration of the Free Travel Scheme comes under the remit of the Department of Social Protection, so Minister Varadkar has said that he will consider my proposal in the context of the forthcoming Budget.”

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