Budget 2022 which was unveiled this week contained a number of measures that will assist Kildare’s younger residents from a 50% cut in public transport costs for those aged 19-23 to an  increase in the SUSI Maintenance Grant and changes to the distance  to qualify for the higher non adjacent grant according to Fine Gael TD and Minister Martin Heydon.

“I am pleased that Budget 2022 contains a range of measures to assist younger residents, particularly after Covid -19 which saw them sacrifice so much in terms of their working, social and family lives. We are indebted to how our young people responded to and supported this country during the pandemic.

“Funding of €25 million for the introduction of a Youth Travel Card in the budget is a major boost. This card will be available to people between the ages of 19 and 23 and will allow them to avail of a 50 per cent discount on fares across the country’s transport network.

“Transport Costs are a huge drain on limited resources so I’m glad travel costs for the likes of college students and young working people have been addressed in this budget.

“From the next college year, the SUSI Maintenance Grant will increase by €200.  The income threshold to qualify for student grants will also increase by €1,000 ensuring more students will qualify and more families can access support.

“In addition, in a move that may benefit many Kildare students who lose out due to their proximity to Maynooth or some Dublin colleges, the distance to qualify for the higher non-adjacent student grant will be reduced from 45km to 30km. This means more students who are living away from home or travelling to college will qualify for the higher grant.

“These three changes follow on from an increase in post-graduate grants in 2021 and are in addition to €22 million announced in financial and mental health supports for students this week.

“From the next college year the €200 levy to take part in a PLC Course will be abolished.  This will remove another barrier to accessing further education & will help promote participation in third level education.

“Budget 2022 has a total Skills Package of €52 million which includes targeted skills training in areas of need such as climate, developing apprenticeships and an adult literacy plan, which is an extremely welcome development,” Minister Heydon concluded.