Fine Gael “arrogant and out of touch” on the costs facing 3rd level students - Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD
Sinn Féin Education spokesperson Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD has hit out at comments from Education Minister Joe McHugh, following comments made in interviews this week on access to third level Education.
The Cork South Central TD said:
“The message that Minister McHugh and the Government are giving to students is that those from low income backgrounds need not apply for third level education courses.
“They are telling people that if they cannot afford to study in the major cities, they should study in what they he calls ‘regional options’.
"He is totally disregarding the fact that many courses such as Medicine and Primary Education, are only available in the largest Universities.
"Essentially the Government is saying that only those who can afford to live in cities such as in Dublin or Cork need apply for these courses.
“On the other hand his colleague Minister Mitchell O’Connor says that students should use the grant to cover accommodation.
"This comment from the Minister shows just how arrogant and out of touch Fine Gael are with the costs facing third level students.
"The SUSI grant will not come close to meeting accomodation costs, in the context of 11.5pc increases in many university-owned and on-campus housing schemes.
"It would leave students nothing for day-to-day living, which is what a maintenance grant is supposed to be for.
"The Minster should remember, students have to eat and pay bills as well as rent.
“Her comments also ignore the many students who get no support and who have fallen foul of the adjacency limit reductions.
“The Attitude coming from Fine Gael is very transparent. Higher Education is not a right, it is a privilege, primarily for those coming from a higher income background.
“It is an elitist attitude and one which is extremely short sighted given how important wide access to higher education is to society as a whole.
“The state should be doing all possible to ensure that everyone who wants it has the chance to get a higher education.
"The reality is, the prospect of being able to get a third level education is rising further out of reach for many students and families, and that is on Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil's watch.”