A talented young journalism student in Achill that has been offered a scholarship to complete a PhD, is being forced to decline the honour, as it comes at the cost of her having to forfeit her disability allowance and associated travel and medical card allowances.
Catherine Gallagher is a determined, 23 year disabled student, and is devastated at the dilemma that she now faces. She insists however, that she is not alone, as the present system works against disabled students successfully taking up scholarships to pursue postgraduate studies.
She wants the system changed and she has written to the Minister for Higher Education Simon Harris and the Social Protection Minister Heather Humphries to remove this barrier to education.
Mayo Deputy Rose Conway Walsh, the Sinn Fein Spokesperson for Higher Education has also taken up cause. She has called on the government to end the unfair practice of removing disabilities supports from students who are awarded postgraduate scholarships.
Deputy Conway Walsh says the government needs to live up to the commitments made under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities which came into force 3 years ago.
Catherine has been speaking to Midwest News Editor Teresa O’Malley about her dilemma – having secured a coveted scholarship to pursue a doctorate on the topic “Journalism and Political Communication Response to Covid 19 in Ireland” - it comes at a very high price in terms of her disability allowances.