McDonnell not happy with higher education grant response

Councillor Al McDonnell, the chairperson of the Cultural, Heritage and Corporate Affairs Strategic Policy Committee of Mayo County Council, expressed his disappointment in the response that his committee had received from a letter that was sent in April. At the April meeting off the committee a resolution was passed where the committee wrote to the Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn to complain about the removal of the processing of first time applications for the higher education grants from the local authority. Cllr McDonnell asked for an update on the issue at the July meeting of the SPC this week. He was informed that the letter was send on April 14 from the council and an acknowledgement was received from the Minister’s office dated April 16, but there has been no communication since.

Cllr McDonnell told the meeting: “That is extremely disappointing to hear that we have only got an acknowledgement and nothing else from the Minister’s office. I would have expected more.” It was agreed by the committee to write to the Minister again to complain about the removal.

Cllr McDonnell asked director of services Joe Loftus if he knew how things were going since the processing of third level grants was being carried out by a central agency. Mr Loftus told the meeting that as far as he was aware it was going reasonably good at the moment, but the real busy time was from mid August through September. Mr Loftus did say that even though all new applications were not being dealt with by the council, the council was still assisting people who came in looking for help.

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