I thank the Minister for the good dialogue in which we engaged on the last occasion we debated the Bill. She proposes that a section of the Student Support Act 2011 shall be amended by the deletion of the phrase "pursuant to a scheme administered by the Minister". According to the briefing documents, this change is intended to reflect the transfer of PLC courses to SOLAS.
The amendment I propose to the Minister’s amendment is that we substitute “authorised” for “administered”. I had in mind the administration of schemes devolved to agencies, of which this is one. In the teething problems of SUSI, we found that the fact that the Minister’s predecessor, Deputy Ruairí Quinn, was in charge meant that he took on board many comments made here and the operation of it in year two was substantially improved such that it disappeared from the political radar. He put a person in charge in each part of the office to deal with a county. I had a query from somebody in Wexford and it was expeditiously handled. The purpose of the amendment is to specify that student support systems are authorised rather than administered by the Minister and it would not mean the Minister would not have a role, or that the previous Minister did not have a role. I have tabled the amendment with the intention of being useful, not to cause more confusion.