South Tipperary TD Seamus Healy called on all other councils to follow suit. Photograph: David Sleator/ The Irish Times


South Tipperary County council has reversed its decision to withhold payments from third-level grant applicants who have not paid the household charge.

It said the “following receipt of further advice” today in relation to the matter, grant payments will not be withheld from applicants who have not paid the household charge.

The council said it will process 450 grants in 2012, of which almost 70 per cent have been processed to date.

Independent South Tipperary TD Seamus Healy welcomed the move and called on “all other councils to follow suit” and for Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan to “instruct them to follow suit”.

Yesterday, eight local authorities were considering following the lead of South Tipperary County Council and Clare County Council..

As Clare County Council yesterday defended writing to some 800 college grant applicants, student groups staged a protest outside the council’s offices in Ennis. In a statement yesterday the council said it would “prioritise” payments from households which had paid the charge. However the council said it had not at any stage indicated that grant payments would be withheld from applicants that have not paid the household charge.

Only grant-renewal applications are being processed by county councils. All new grant applications for 2012-2013 are processed completely by the central grant authority, Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI).

“SUSI is not seeking proof of payment of the household charge from applicants,” it said in a statement.