Sinn Féin’s Further and Higher Education Spokesperson John O’Dowd has welcomed confirmation from the Department of the Economy they are to Equality screen the failure of the Student’s Loan Company to accept Irish passports as valid identification on the same basis as they do a British passport when students are applying for student finances.
Mr O’Dowd said:
“With an ever increasing number of the population now holding an Irish passport it is simply unfair to ask students with an Irish passport to jump through extra hoops to obtain the same services as those with a British passport.
“After raising this issue at the Assembly Economy Committee on several occasions, I eventually got the Department to admit they had not followed proper equality procedure and they had a statutory obligation to carry out an equality screening exercise.
“There is no place in our society for discrimination and it is vitally important Departments follow equality procedures to detect and eliminate discrimination where it exists.
“I look forward now to a rigorous equality screening exercise being undertaken by the Department of the Economy.”