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Minister Quinn welcomes Judgement on challenge to reverse cuts to Student Grants made in Budget 2011

The Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairí Quinn T.D., has welcomed the judgement of Mr. Justice John Hedigan in the Judicial Review case taken in the High Court by a number of students (Medb McCarthy, Robert Johnson and Iesha Rowan) against the Department of Education and Skills.

The case challenged the Minister’s decision to make changes to the student grant scheme under Budget 2011 and apply these to both new and existing students.

Mr Justice Hedigan ruled in favour of the Minister today. Given the complexity of the case, the Minister will consider the judgement further in consultation with his legal team.


Background Notes:

In Budget 2011, the previous government announced changes relating to the qualifying distance criterion for the non-adjacent rate of student grant and the automatic entitlement of mature students to the non-adjacent rate of grant.

This High Court case saw three students, Medb McCarthy, Robert Johnson and Iesha Rowan, challenge these changes as they claimed they had a legitimate expectation to the continuation of the same criteria for the grant scheme while they are “students in progression” and therefore that they have a legitimate expectation to continue to receive this form of financial support.

The Department argued that student grants are awarded on a “year to year” basis and therefore there was no automatic right of entitlement to the same grants.

The case was heard on 23rd and 24th February 2012.

Mr Justice Hedigan gave summary judgement today (25th of April) and ruled in favour of the Department and the Minister. A stay of one week has been put on the order.