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Sinn Féin is totally opposed to the Income Contingent Loans model - Gavan

12 July, 2017 - by Paul Gavan

Senator Gavan said: 

“This evening, Sinn Féin will be supporting a motion which calls on the government to eliminate student fees and work towards establishing a fully publicly funded third level education system. 

“Sinn Féin has been consistent on our position – education is a right, not a privilege. We are committed to abolishing the student contribution fee and we must build an education system free of inequality. 

“We also call for the government to rule out the introduction of an Income Contingent Loan (ICL) scheme. The ICL model has been disastrous in England, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. Research shows that in each of those countries inequality of access increased at 3rd level, and their respective governments are now selling state student loan books to the private market at the fraction of their original worth. 

“The fact that neither Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil are going to support the motion this evening is very disappointing and outlines why neither of these parties can be trusted when it comes to education. Fine Gael are ideologically opposed to the idea of a fully publicly funded education system, while Fianna Fáíl are simply keeping their options open, and keeping the ICL option on the table. 

“What we need to do is build a consensus around a publicly funded education system, and we are pleased to see Labour now commit to that policy. However, what must not happen is for Labour to drop this position and get back into bed with Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael at the next opportunity. 

“Sinn Féin welcomes the call by the USI for cross party support on this position, and we also wish to state our intention to outlaw the use of Zero Hours contracts which are highly prevalent within our 3rd Level Education sector.

“I urge the house this evening to support the motion and for us to work towards a system that is accessible and affordable to all citizens” End

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