Saturday 25 February 2017

Efforts under way to fund college place for asylum seeker Anna

Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

Anna Kern from Colaiste Nano Nagle, Limerick
Anna Kern from Colaiste Nano Nagle, Limerick

Education Minister Jan O'Sullivan is involved in efforts to find ways to fund a college education for asylum seeker Anna Kern, who notched up 575 points in her Leaving Certificate.

Ms Kern, who came from the Ukraine with her mother two years ago, wants to study physiotherapy.

But, under existing rules, she is not able to access State support such as grants and the "free" fees scheme. Anna lives in Direct Provision accommodation in Knocknasheen, Co Limerick with her mother, who is not permitted to work.

She attended Coláiste Nano Nagle, Limerick, whose principal Marion Cummins claimed the Government was abandoning her.

The minister said that several avenues were being explored, such as college funds that help students in need.

"We have been making enquiries," she said.

It is understood that another option being explored is the possibility of a philanthropic donation.

The minister met Ms Kern last week and spoke to her again last night.

Ms O'Sullivan will announce a scheme to support asylum seekers in third-level education soon, but even that scheme would be of no benefit to Anna, as it will be restricted to asylum seekers who have already spent five years in the Irish education system.

Irish Independent

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