Saturday, 17 November 2012

Ministers congratulate JP McManus scholarship recipients

Education Minister, John O’Dowd and Employment and Learning Minister, Dr Stephen Farry have congratulated the recipients of the JP McManus All Ireland Scholarship Scheme at a ceremony in Limerick.

The scheme, funded by JP McManus, provides financial assistance to students across Ireland from low-income households who are intending to take up higher education places.

Former US President Bill Clinton presented certificates to the 125 winning students, including 25 young people from the north. Ministers O’ Dowd and Farry were also recognised for their support of the All-Ireland Scholarship at the event.

Speaking from the University of Limerick Concert Hall, Education Minister, John O’Dowd said: “Many young people are keen to move on to higher education in order to develop their skills and pursue specific career goals. However those from low income families can find the financial costs associated with higher education to be a barrier to pursuing this career and study path. JP McManus’s continued investment and commitment to the All Ireland scholarships is to be commended. His generous support is particularly welcome at a time when many families are facing increased financial pressures.

“The skills and qualifications acquired through higher education can broaden horizons and prospects, benefiting not only the individual but also our wider communities. The value of these awards is therefore worth much more than the monetary cost; they offer the opportunity of third level education to young people who may previously not have had that option.

“I want to congratulate all of the recipients on their hard work and wish them every success in the future in their chosen studies and careers.”

Employment and Learning Minister, Dr Stephen Farry said: “I commend JP McManus for his continued generosity in providing these scholarships. The vision and practical support of people like him from the world of business shows that philanthropy can make a real difference to the lives of students looking to gain all the benefits from higher education. The award of a scholarship brings with it prestige but it also brings with it responsibility. I know our students will discharge that responsibility and will use their award to lay the foundations for successful and fulfilling careers that will not only be of benefit to them but also the wider economy.

“My Department’s recently published Widening Participation Strategy, Access to Success, demonstrates my commitment to ensuring that those who are most able but least likely to participate in higher education should be given every encouragement and support to achieve the necessary qualifications to apply to, and to benefit from, the higher education that is right for them. This Scholarship will help to support this commitment to widening participation by ensuring that all young people, irrespective of their background, have the opportunity to access higher education.”

The All Ireland scholarships provide financial assistance for up to 25 students per year, in the north, for studies at Undergraduate level. Scholarships are worth £5,500 per year with recipients coming from low income households and in receipt of Educational Maintenance Allowance. The ceremony took place on Saturday 17 November in the University of Limerick Concert Hall.

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