Frank Feighan TD, Fine Gael Education spokesman has called on the partners in Government to immediately state their position on the Minister for Education’s stated intention to re-introduce third level fees.
“The Minister has already asked a third level review group to look at and report on this issue in the autumn. His comments last week have effectively gazumped that group in pre-determining an outcome to their work, which is ongoing.
“At this stage we cannot be sure if this u-turn in Government policy is simply the Minister for Education flying a kite a la one of his predecessors some years ago. However, all three Government parties went into the last election stating their unequivocal opposition to the re-introduction of fees and this is copper-fastened in the Programme for Government.
“As we made clear in our manifesto, Fine Gael categorically opposes the re-introduction of fees for undergraduate third level education. It was the abolition of fees by the Fine Gael-led Rainbow coalition in 1995 that has since resulted in a sharp increase in third level participation rates among lower-income groups.”