Munster: SUSI Grant Eligibility Criteria must be clarified in light of Covid-19

Sinn Féin TD Imelda Munster has said that the Minister for Education needs to clarify the eligibility criteria for SUSI grant applications for those whose incomes have been affected as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Deputy Munster made her remarks as the SUSI grant application process opens this week..

Deputy Munster said:

“Hundreds of thousands of workers have had their incomes reduced through no fault of their own as a result of the impact of Covid-19.

“While we hope that the impact of this will be short lived for these workers and families, it is clear that many will struggle with the financial burden of sending children to third-level in a few short months.

“However, it appears that the Department of Education has made no provision for these families as the SUSI grant application process opens up and it appears that the Department will make a determination on grant applications based on incomes earned in 2019; ignoring the new reality for thousands of families.

“The SUSI application process only allows for a change of circumstances to be taken into account where the change is ‘permanent, or for the foreseeable future’.

“I am calling on the Minister to clarify what arrangements are in place to support students from families that have seen a significant drop in income to meet the costs of third-level education for the new academic year.

“It is clear that the criteria applied in previous years is not fit for purpose and the Minister must take account of these realities to ensure that those who require financial support can access it. I have written to the Minister to see how he intends to address this issue.

Cllr McGeough Welcomes Extension to Consultation on Ardee Bypass

Sinn Féin Councillor Pearse McGeough has welcomed the extension to the 31st March deadline for the public consultation on the Ardee Bypass.

Cllr McGeough requested the extension in light of the on-going Covid19 emergency which he says “has hampered efforts by some local people to submit their comments on time. Some of the older community especially, need assistance in the administrative end of things and usually they would seek help from family members or local councillors. However, in light of the Corona Virus and following government advice to stay home and keep a physical distance, it has made the process a bit more difficult and prolonged for them.”

The 31st March deadline has now been extended to 21st April.

Cllr McGeough said “I want to thank Roghan & O’Donovan Engineers for their flexibility in this matter. If anyone wants to submit a comment or needs help to fill out the submission sheet, although I am not able to visit I am still available by phone or email to assist in whatever way I can.”

“The Ardee Bypass is badly needed but we must ensure that it is done correctly and to the community’s satisfaction.”

Anyone who requires a submission form for the Public Consultation or needs any assistance please contact Pearse on 086 813 5447 or alternatively you can email him on pearse.mcgeough@louthcoco.ie

COVID19 ADVICE & Louth SF CONTACT NUMBERS

Louth Sinn Féin has understandably been inundated with concerned citizens regarding the Corona Virus.

There are measures you can take that are within your control:

  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Work from home if you can
  • Don’t go out unless you have to and stay 2 metres away from other people
  • Avoid callers to your door, there should NOT be any cold or uninvited callers at this time
  • Check on your elderly relatives by telephoning them regularly
  • Check with neighbours, look out for each other

That being said, people are concerned, especially older people or those who are classed as ‘vulnerable’.

Firstly, let us reassure you, there is no shortage of food or supplies, the retailers have confirmed that the retail line is continuing uninterrupted and there is no need for anyone to buy in bulk or panic buy.

Secondly, some shops (Tescos & Lidl so far) are operating an older/vulnerable persons time slot in the stores so that these people can go along and shop in relative quiet and peace. Carers can also take advantage of this early morning slot.

A number of outlets have closed including our constituency offices but we are still available for those with urgent issues. We will arrange to either deal with the issue over the phone or arrange a suitable and safe way to meet with you. You can also contact us through our individual facebook pages or email.

There are also a number of SF activists that are willing to deliver supplies to people who live alone or are older/vulnerable and you can contact your local SF member or Councillor in your area for details.

Our contact numbers are as follows:

Dundalk & Carlingford

Antóin Watters 087 416 5157

Kevin Meenan 085 858 9241

Mid-Louth

Pearse McGeough 086 813 5447

Drogheda & South Louth

Joanna Byrne 087 114 6522

Tom Cunningham 087 371 7884

We have a long road ahead of us but if we all pull together and follow the medical advice then we can minimise the damage this virus will cause.

Cllr Meenan asks people to be vigilant after needles found discarded at bus stop

Sinn Féin councillor Kevin Meenan has asked people to be vigilant after a number of discarded needles were found at a bus stop in Muirhevna Mór.

Cllr Meenan said “it is not unusual to find needles discarded, it happens everywhere unfortunately but it is worrying that they were discarded at a bus stop where children get the bus to school. It is right beside a green area where I have seen people walking dogs and children playing. I would ask people to be vigilant and cautious. Please make sure your children know not to touch the needles and to leave them be and report them either to myself or to Louth County Council.”

Cllr Meenan also had a message for those responsible, “please be aware of the possible consequences of where you are discarding your needles. Places like bus stops and green areas are used by all members of the community including children and pets, I would ask that you are conscious of that.”

The number to report any instances to Louth County Council is:

LoCall 1890 20 23 03  or phone direct on 042 933 5457

Cllr Joanna Byrne endorses Drogheda Girl’s Student Union Campaign in DKIT

                      Cllr Joanna Byrne with candidate Caitlín Connor

 

As campaigning kicked off on Friday in Dundalk Institute of Technology for various Student Union positions, Sinn Féin Councillor Joanna Byrne joined fellow Drogheda girl Caitlín Connor on campus to officially endorse her campaign. 

Speaking in DKIT yesterday morning, Cllr Byrne said she was delighted to endorse Caitlín’s campaign, particularly as her flagship policy is to try and end period poverty in the college. 

“Last summer saw me successfully pass a motion in Louth County Council to see the implementation of free sanitary products in all civic offices throughout the County. For a large number of women it is fast becoming a choice between food and these necessary products. These choices are leading to all sorts of follow on issues such as the impact on health not to mention the Human Rights aspect of feeling powerless and excluded, leading to a loss of dignity and self-esteem.

“I have no doubt this is extremely prevalent in the daily lives of students and to see Caitlín run such a vibrant campaign tackling this issue I was only too happy to lend my support. If she is elected I will be happy to work with her on this in conjunction with Homeless Period Ireland.”

Cllr Byrne said “I commend any young woman who puts herself forward for positions like this. To put yourself in the public eye is a very brave thing to do and often a thankless task, but from working with Caitlín over the last couple of weeks it is evident to see she is more than capable and her enthusiasm and tenacity is something to be admired and of course the fact she is such a talented young Drogheda lady makes me twice as proud.”

Endorsing Caitlín, Cllr Byrne said “So, if you want somebody on your Student Union representing you who is passionate about Women’s Issues and stands for Equality, I’m asking you to ‘Give Change A Chance’ next Thursday and Vótáil Caitlín Connor, Uimhir a haon.”