I propose to take Questions Nos. 501 to 505, inclusive, together.
The Student Grants Appeals Board (the Board) was established under Section 25 of the Student Support Act 2011 and under Section 21(4)(a) is independent in the performance of its functions. Appointments to the Board are in compliance with The Public Appointments Service (PAS) process.
Under Section 25 (4) of the Student Support Act, the Appeals Board shall consist of a Chairperson and such number of ordinary members as shall by determined by the Minister but which in any case shall not exceed 11 persons.
The term of office of the Appeals Board is for 5 years and the current Board commenced in September 2021.
The current Board comprises of a Chairperson and 6 ordinary members.
Mr. John Horan, Chairperson
Mr. Kevin Donoghue
Mr. James Doorley
Ms. Lorna Fitzpatrick
Ms. Laura Harmon
Ms. Mary Jane Meegan
Mr. Liam O’Callaghan
Under Section 27 of the Student Support Act, the Appeals Board shall submit a report of its activities to the Minister at such intervals and in such manner and form as the Minister directs.
A report was submitted by the Student Grant Appeals Board for the 2011/2012 year and is available on the gov.ie website. It is my intention to seek reports from the new Student Grant Appeals Board during the course of their term.
As the Deputy will appreciate the new Board has just been appointed under Section 25 of the Student Support Act. All governance requirements will be considered by the Board in consultation with the Department.
I did not have the opportunity to meet the Board since my appointment in July 2020. However, under Section 25(14) the Minister may furnish such support of an administrative nature to the Appeals Board as in the opinion of the Minister is necessary in order that the Board may properly perform its functions. Officials from my Department attend all Board meetings and are in regular contact with the Board.