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September 28th 2010 Volume 18, Issue 2

Express University College Cork Students to face further grant frustration Byron Murphy Deputy/News Editor

Many UCC students will likely suffer delays this year in receiving their maintenance grant payments, similar to those seen in the previ- ous academic year. The absence of a unified grant system along with the probability of authorities re- ceiving higher numbers of applica- tions could make the delays even longer this year. The lack of devel- opment and improvement in the system has drawn criticism from both student representatives and those involved in the respective re- warding authorities. A local coun- cillor has stated that the grants system is being operated “as if we were back in the age of Charles Dickens”

Last year some students

were left waiting until March for their first payments to be dis- patched, which caused hardship for students who are awarded a grant to assist in living expenses along with study requirements. When

asked if the local authorities charged with the processing of ap- plications and payments could be improved, Students' Union Presi- dent Keith O' Brien stated: “I ab- solutely believe that they could be doing a lot better, but I don't think it's necessarily their fault...the blame's not with the departments, they're experiencing staffing cuts, they're crying out for staff to cater for the demand with the grant ap- plications. The problem lies with the council level, the fact that they're not organised enough to put the extra staff that that's needed into the departments. And the prob- lem then of course always goes back to government. Why don't they have the staff for these areas? Because the funding for these local councils have been cut.”

The frustration felt by

students in relation to the grant process is echoed by the local au- thorities themselves, who feel the current system is unnecessarily outdated. In an interview with the UCC Express, Cork City Council- lor Tim Brosnan stated “I've made

observations in relation to this grant payment system and I hon- estly believe it's a farce”

“Every student in the

country has a PPS number, and I think it would be very simple if the administration of education grants moved to the Department of Social Welfare. From there, all a student needs to do is to submit their PPS number and the PPS number of their parents into Social Welfare and Social Welfare should be able to run it through the system and you should get an answer within ten minutes as to whether the per- son has means or not, and the grant setup can be actioned right from that moment. We're actually oper- ating a Dickensian system when it comes to paying grants.”

The concept of an expe-

dited grant system is nothing new. The Student Support Bill, pub- lished in 2008, outlines a unified grant system which can process ap- plications more efficiently than various local authorities, some- times operating under different

Billy Murphy and Lawrence Cobblestone reach for glory during Freshers Week!

Photo: Julia Healy

Intel and Tyndall collaboration worth 1.5 million Adam El Araby

UCC’s Tyndall National Institute and Intel Corporation, the world’s largest computer processor manu- facturer, have announced a $1.5 million agreement to establish a joint research initiative. The pro-

gramme is scheduled to take place over the next three years with fu- ture collaborations also likely.

Julie Dorel of the Tyndall National Institute said the initial scope of the program will expand Intel’s re- search interests at Tyndall to in-

clude research in advanced de- vices, alternate materials to silicon, optical interconnects and atomic layer deposition techniques. Tyn- dall researchers will be working di- rectly with counterparts from Intel’s research division on the de- velopment of these new products.

As part of the agreement, Intel will hold a license to make use of tech- nology developed through this pro- gramme commercially.

The Tyndall National Institute was established in 2004 and has achieved significant recognition in a relatively short period of time. As

one of Ireland’s leading research institutes in the area of ICT (Infor- mation and Communications Tech- nology), this announcement is being seen as a further endorse- ment of the quality of the research taking place at the Tyndall Insti- tute. Continued on page 4.

rules and systems. However the bill has been in limbo over the last two years. The Union of Students in Ireland believe that, if imple- mented, the bill could save the government 5 million Euro in costs per year over the current system.

UCC SU Welfare Officer

Pádraig Rice asserted that the im- plementing the bill would be cru-

cial for the improvement of the system, and that students should lobby local councillors and TDs rather than placing blame on the grants authorities who are under- staffed. He believes that delays this year will be as bad as last year if not worse, saying “There's proba- bly an increase in applications this year because of the recession.”

Freshers Week 2010

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