Independent TD Mattie McGrath
Independent Tipperary TD Mattie McGrath has called on the Minister for Education to work with the third level institutions and students to ensure all students who have vacated college accommodation are offered refunds and to ensure there is a unified approach right across the country.
Deputy McGrath issued this call to Minister Joe McHugh as some universities and third level colleges are offering refunds to their students who have vacated on-campus accommodation while others are refusing to engage with their students and offer refunds.
“This situation is untenable,” he declared. “We cannot have a situation where some third level institutions are offering refunds to their students while others are happy to have taken the students money and now refuse to engage with those students who have had no option but to vacate their college accommodation and return home despite having paid for their accommodation to the end of term upfront.
“Most students and indeed many of their parents have lost their jobs. Their parents have their own household obligations such as mortgage, rent, food and all other household bills and yet the third level institutions are happy to keep the students’ money without providing a service.
“We have a situation where Tipperary students are bearing the brunt of this haphazard policy of colleges offering refunds.
“I want to thank and praise the colleges and private landlords who have worked with their students and offered refunds and I call on those who have not to reconsider their policy. In the interim I have once again called on the Minister for Education to work with the universities and students to find a resolution.”
Deputy McGrath complained that the Minister is referring students to the Residential Tenancies Board but he argued this was just a case of passing the buck and taking the heat off the Minister because it will be months down the line before the Residential Tenancies make a ruling which is unlikely to be in the students favour.
“Students who were in off -campus accommodation must also receive supports where they cannot reach an agreement with their private landlord and so the Minister must introduce a unified approach to deal with this issue.” concluded Deputy McGrath.