Kildare County Council has no plans to follow the lead of other local authorities to tie the processing third level grants to the payment of the household charge.
At a meeting of Kildare Area Committee on Wednesday morning, Councillor Fiona O’Loughlin described the decision by other local authorities, including Clare County Council, to withold grants from third level students as “reprehensible”.
“Students should not be targeted,” said Cllr O’Loughlin, adding that “Councils do not have a right to deny grants” based on the failure to pay an unrelated tax.
Cllr Michael ‘Spike’ Nolan echoed Cllr O’Loughlin, saying that “going after students is wrong”, in particular when “they’re still giving grants in other areas”.
A report presented at the meeting revealed that just under 60 percent of Kildare households have paid the household charge according to figures from the Household Charge Unit in Dublin. However this figure could not be broken down into towns or electoral areas to find out if some areas had higher collection rates than others.
The report added that this information will not be available at any stage in the future either, something which Cllr Tony O’Donnell described as “disgraceful”.
- Liam Godinho