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No student should be disadvantaged as a result of partition - Ó Caoláin

11 August, 2006

Cavan/Monahgan Sinn Féin TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has welcomed news today that Irish and British officials are meeting to try to resolve funding problems for southern students who want to study in the North. Just last month Deputy Ó Caoláin called on Education Minister Mary Hanafin to intervene directly to avoid a situation where students living on the southern side of the border could face an additional fee of more than €4,000 if they want to study at colleges in the North. Up to 5000 students, mainly from the Border counties will be affected if the current arrangements are changed due to education cuts imposed in the North by the British Government.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said, "Because of education budget cuts imposed in the North by the British government students may now be denied places. They may have to prove residency in the Six Counties or be required to pay full fees if they live in the 26 Counties.

"I welcome the fact that officials are now meeting in a bid to try and resolve this situation. This should come to a speedy and successful resolution -- a resolution that sees no student facing disadvantages as a result of partition.

"We need to work out arrangements which will harmonise access to education and training on an all-Ireland basis and we should be pooling the considerable education resources we enjoy on this island." ENDS

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