Today Deputy Mairéad Farrell, spokesperson on Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, said it was shocking that only 53% of counties had a provider of student leaps.
Through information received from a parliamentary question it was revealed that almost have of the 26 counties had no provider of student leap cards, and for those that did this was generally provided through a student union or in a small number of incidents a private agent.
Deputy Farrell stated that at times when students are having to commute longer and longer distances, the fact a significant number have to travel to another country just to receive this card seems ridiculous.
Teachta Farrell said:
“There is a serious lack of coverage when it comes to the provision of these cards. There are multiple counties in every province where the card cannot be printed off at all. Students in counties outside of Dublin are being told to travel there just to pick up there card.
“Counties with no provider at all include: Cavan, Clare, Kilkenny, Laois, Leitrim, Longford, Mayo, Meath, Monaghan, Offaly, Roscommon, Tipperary, Wexford and Wicklow.”
“The fact that in some of these counties there is already a third level institution which could offer the service, or multiple post offices which could presumably do the same.”
“The problem is for this government that students are often an afterthought.
“This is something that could be fixed fairly quickly it the Minister had a mind to. There’s no shortage of providers in large urban centres like Dublin, but for rural Ireland it’s a very different story.”
“All of this stuff leaves a very bitter taste in the mouth of young people. So when graduation day finally comes they feel like this government and its predecessors have shown them to the door. Decades ago the saying was “get the boat”. Today it seems to be a case of “book a flight”.”