Kite flying on college fees fruitless exercise

Senator Annie Hoey image
03 May 2022

Labour spokesperson on further and higher education Senator Annie Hoey has said the kite flying on college fees by Minister Harris is a fruitless exercise unless there is meaningful and tangible change for students’ pockets.

Senator Hoey said:

“We know that this Minister has a long track record of making grandiose policy announcements without follow through whether that is Sláintecare, Safe Access Zones, free GP care or free dental care. The proof of today’s announcement will be what financial relief there will be for students come September.

“Whatever the Minister gets in Budget 2023, the reality is it will still be another year before students feel any changes. Similarly, today’s announcement will not make any meaningful change for students in the here and now. Unfortunately, our students will still be paying some of the highest fees in Europe for “free” education.

“Rather than playing out a phoney war between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael in the headlines, this government should be focusing on looking at the core funding model for higher education. The Cassells report has given us a road map on how we can fully fund public education if only the Minister would be willing to lead us there.

“We have a remarkable participation rate in higher education and it is rightly a source of pride. It plays a huge role in our economic development, but for far too many young people, their choices are limited to accessing higher education or being seen to have failed. That’s due to inaction on further and higher education for too long. Full and equal access to higher education should become a reality in Ireland.”

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