LABOUR Party election candidate, Cllr Ann Phelan has slammed the government cuts in student grants which will affect Kilkenny students.
"The effects on students, for example, living in Kilkenny City and studying in Carlow, is disastrous," she said.
"Kilkenny is about 40km from Carlow IT and it used to entitle students to the 'non adjacent rate' of student maintenance, but now that limit has been raised from a distance of 24km to 45km and it means that Kilkenny students are Carlow IT will lose thousands," she said.
"If it wasn't bad enough increasing the 'student service charge' by one third, we now have a situation where according to the department's own figures, some 25,000 families will be hit by what amounts to a 60 per cent cut in student maintenance payments," she added, explaining that South Kilkenny students studying in Waterford IT will also be hit.
"While it is about 50km from Kilkenny City to Waterford, those a bit nearer, who used to be entitled to the non adjacent grant will lose it. The students from Thomastown, for instance, at a distance of 40km, from Waterford, will now be entitled only to the lower grant," she added.
"The covert and vindictive way in which this measure was buried in the small print, is indicative of the deceptive manner in which the budget was presented which was a triumph of tone over substance. It is clear that Fianna Fail is guilty of inflicting untold damage on our economy and on our public finances, and it is likely to take years to repair that damage. It is time for them to go," she added.