Labour Senators table motion opposing student loans

Aodhán Ó Ríordáin TD
12 July 2017

Labour Senators today will use their Private Members’ time to call on the Government to oppose the student loan scheme option recommended in the Cassells’ Report.

The Labour Party motion calls on the Government to commit to providing equality of access to education for all; reject any move to implement an income contingent loan scheme to fund third level education; and adopt a policy of ending college fees, and implement a truly publicly funded higher education system in Ireland.

Speaking ahead of the motion, Senator Aodhán Ó Ríordáin commented:

“Since the publication of the Cassells’ Report, we have argued against the introduction of a student loan scheme.

“We need to be ambitious when it comes to higher education, and ensure any financial barriers to access are removed.

“A deferred payment scheme, which is one of the options proposed in the Cassells’ Report, would be disastrous for students in Ireland.

“This evening in the Seanad, my Labour colleagues and I will be calling for increased state investment and a significant contribution from employers into higher education. Businesses benefit significantly from a highly educated and skilled workforce, and their contribution to the sector should reflect that,” concluded Senator Ó Ríordáin.

Labour Leader in the Seanad, Ivana Bacik added:

“We’re hoping to see all parties come together to reject outright income-contingent student loan schemes.

“Student loans are a regressive and ill thought out proposition. Student loans have not worked in the USA, Australia or the UK, where they have saddled students with debt and discouraged people from studying at third-level.

“The position of the Labour Party is clear, the Government should take the idea of student loans off the table – college fees should not rise, they should go.

“Labour in Government took an ambitious step in the 1990s by introducing publicly funded third level education.

“We need to be brave again and ambitious for the next generation,” concluded Senator Bacik.

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