Pandemic payment must continue for students - Conway-Walsh

Deputy Rose Conway Walsh

Deputy Rose Conway Walsh

Mayo Sinn Féin TD Rose Conway-Walsh has called on the government to maintain the PUP payment for students as they return to college.

The Sinn Féin Spokesperson for Further and Higher Education, Research Innovation and Science said: "Students must not be stripped of their pandemic payment. If they are not back in work or their jobs are not returning, then they cannot have support taken away simply because they are enrolled in college.

"I raised this issue with the Minister for Social Protection earlier this month and the answer that I have received shirks all responsibility and offers no assurances that the payments will continue.

"The Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP ) was given to students back in March if they lost their job, like many people, due to the Covid-19 outbreak. Like many others, they needed that support. The government must not abandon those same students now.

"It would be callous to take away that life-line when students are still being asked to pay extortionate rent and the highest fees in the EU.

"Unfortunately, we are not out of the woods yet from a health or economic perspective. Many public health restrictions are being reintroduced or still remain in place.

"Sinn Féin’s survey, ‘Telling the Real Story,’ found that 70% of students said their personal employment opportunities or income have been impacted by Covid-19 and 56% of students said their household income had reduced.

"Last month youth unemployment stood at 17.5 percent. This figure does not count students in full time education. But it indicates the difficulty of finding work many people are facing.

"Many students typically work in the hospitality and service sectors which have been particularly hard hit by restrictions. The Minister for Social Protection needs to come out and clarify the issue as a matter of urgency."

 

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