Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Top up fees will contribute to brain drain

14 July, 2004


Sinn Fein Spokesperson on Further and Higher Education, West Belfast MLA Michael Ferguson has said that current proposals on top-up fees will contribute to the brain drain, with many of our brightest young people heading out of the Six Counties.

Mr Ferguson said:

"The reality is that many of our brightest and most able young people don't even get a chance to benefit from third level education because of the current financial barriers faced particularly by young nationalists and protestants from working class communities. Many others who have the opportunity leave Ireland and never return.

"What is certain is that further barriers to third level education will be created by the arrogant attempts of British direct rule ministers to force through Tony Blair's agenda on introducing top-up fees. The result will be to further reinforce the two-tier education system that works against young men and women from more marginalised communities.

"Irish re-unification has the potential to create a real momentum and release the undoubted potential of people right across this island. Reunification would require substantial investment across the Ireland to re-establish the transport and communications infrastructure but also in terms of connecting economies and the creative and knowledge based centres across the island.

"Reunification would also remove us from the conservative Blair agenda that will do untold harm our third level education system.

"We urgently need an end to direct rule. We also need to see greater economic sovereignty to allow us to set our own spending priorities and to break the link with British policy that has failed in so many areas including third level education, investment in infrastructure and our farming sand fishing communities." ENDS

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