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O’Brien flags serious problems with Technological Universities Plan

14 January, 2016 - by Jonathan O'Brien TD

Speaking following a meeting of the Oireachtas Select Committee on Education today, Sinn Féin’s Education spokesperson said that there were major problems with the Technological Universities Bill.

The Cork North Central TD said;

“While Sinn Féin are supportive of the idea of Technological Universities, this Bill is being rushed through by the Minister without adequate consultation with all the relevant stakeholders.

“We have a range of concerns for the pay, working conditions and pensions of staff currently working in I.T.’s and have real fears that this Bill is merely going to be used as a mechanism to enforce significant cutbacks with no benefits for students, communities or teaching staff.

“The forced merging of Institutes of Technology with no guarantee of receiving technological university status must be withdrawn.

“We are also seeking changes to protect academic freedom as the Bill in its current form effectively gags presidents of I.T.s from speaking out against the Minister or any government policy.

“We have tabled a range of amendments designed to address these problems, and will do so again at the next stage of the legislation and I would call on the Minister to take them seriously.

“We supported the Bill when it was introduced on the basis these concerns would be addressed, however we will reconsider that position if the Minister does not revisit the relevant sections of the Bill.”

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