FINE GAEL EDUCATION MINISTERS ARE INEPT AND OUT OF TOUCH
Labour Youth Chairperson, Patrick Ahern, has branded Minister for Education Joe McHugh and Minister of State for Higher Education Mary Mitchell O’Connor inept and out of touch following their comments earlier this week.
Commenting on the matter Mr. Ahern said:
“Following the release of leaving cert results earlier this week, Minister McHugh announced that higher level fees would not rise for at least the next 5 years. For some reason, he thought this was something to be applauded even though Ireland already has the second-highest third-level fees in the EU and will have the highest once the UK leaves.
“While visiting the National Parents’ Council Post Primary helpline he also remarked that “Families who cannot afford university should consider ‘regional options’”.
“Meanwhile Higher Education Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor told students to “use grants” to pay for the cost of college accommodation even though even the full means-tested grant will not be enough to cover campus accommodation at most universities. This came just a week after an Irish Independent survey revealed rent increases of up to 11.5pc year on year for university-owned and on-campus accommodation.
“These comments are insulting to students and families who are already struggling to afford third level education. Education should be a right, not a privilege. It’s about time we had free access to third-level education just like they have in many other EU countries. The current SUSI grant also needs to be reviewed and increased to cover the increase in the price of rental accommodation over the last few years.
“These comments by Ministers McHugh and Mitchell O’Connor are particularly horrendous given leaving cert results have just been released. Students across the country that worked hard and got the results they needed for the course they want should be celebrating this week. Instead many of them will be forced to reconsider their aspirations purely due to the cost and the increasingly tiered education system Fine Gael are pursuing. The fact that neither of the current education ministers sees any problem here just shows how inept and out of touch they are.