Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Education and Skills Thomas Byrne TD says he is alarmed by the decision made by Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) to require students participating in access programmes to undergo mandatory Garda vetting.

Deputy Byrne has called on management at DIT to clarify why they introduced the new procedures.

“DIT’s Access Foundation Programme is in place to help young adults and mature students from disadvantaged backgrounds access further education. It is a preparatory course which eases participants back into an education environment. Those that successfully complete the programme are guaranteed an offer on one of DIT’s undergraduate courses,” explained Deputy Byrne.

“Management at DIT have recently introduced a new requirement which demands that all people applying to the programme undergo Garda vetting procedures. This requirement is only placed on those applying to the access programme and is irrespective of whether they are due to participate on a work placement. It’s hard to describe it as anything but discriminatory in nature.

“DIT has a reputation as being a leader in facilitating people from disadvantaged backgrounds in accessing further education. Fantastic work has been done in recent years in reaching out to people from disadvantaged backgrounds. I fear that the new requirements could put people off from applying to the programme and the good work that has been done down through the years could be undone.

“Management at DIT need to clarify why exactly they introduced this new requirement, especially when you consider that a similar requirement is not in place for students in general. Did a specific case prompt this decision? It’s simply not fair to discriminate against a specific student group,” concluded Deputy Byrne.