Fine Gael “arrogant and out of touch” on the costs facing 3rd level students - Louise O'Reilly TD
Sinn Féin TD for Dublin Fingal Louise O'Reilly has criticised the Fine Gael led government labelling it "arrogant and out of touch”, as two Ministers offer tea and sympathy to students and families facing rising third level costs.
Deputy O'Reilly said:
“Two Fine Gael Ministers with responsibility for education were quoted in the papers this morning offering up platitudes and ignoring the fact that an increasing number of families and students are facing rising third level costs.
“On the day after thousands of students got their Leaving Cert results, with some of them hoping to go to cities like Dublin or Cork or Galway, Minister for Education Joe McHugh has told us that education is not a right based on a merit system, but dependent on how wealthy your parents are.
"Every student deserves the opportunity to study the course they are offered in the College of their choice, not just students from well off families.
“The comments from Mary Mitchell O'Connor are equally bizarre. Firstly, a lot of families are not eligible for a SUSI grant, secondly the SUSI grant will not fully cover most student accommodation costs. What about other expenses such as books, food and transport?
“Access to third level education is becoming a preserve of the elite under this government, but perhaps that is what Fine Gael want. Furthermore, Fine Gael know that parents will put themselves into debt to ensure their children get the education they deserve and are entitled to.
“The current student accommodation strategy is not fit for purpose and there will still be a shortfall of 20,000 student accommodation beds by 2024.
“There must be an increase in investment in affordable purpose-built student accommodation by Universities and Colleges and third level institutions should not have to make up a State funding shortfall by inflating student accommodation costs.
“We need a government that understands this and doesn’t blithely offer up ill-informed commentary on the difficult choices many ordinary families will have to make when the CAO offers come out."