Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Education, Thomas Byrne, has said the Minister for Education must not be allowed to wait for the next Government to tackle the tumbling ratings of Ireland’s Universities.

Deputy Byrne was speaking following comments made by Minister McHugh where he stated that the Government will not act to address the crisis in higher education in this Dáil.

Deputy Byrne commented, “I think it’s extraordinary to hear an Education Minister throw in the towel like this. When asked on Morning Ireland why it was taking so long for the Government to implement the Casssells Report, which was published over three years ago, his response was to blame Dáil arithmetic.

“Minister McHugh said it is “very difficult to get business through parliament because of the weakness of this Government and I think it will take a new Government composition to bring a big fundamental change around this”. He is right about one thing, a new Government led by Fianna Fáil will bring about change.

“But his comments demonstrate the fact that the Government has absolutely no vision for third level in this country. He is effectively saying that his Government will do nothing to address the funding crisis for the remainder of its time in office.

“The Cassells report has been on his and his predecessor’s desk for three years. Irish universities are tumbling down the rankings. The Cassells report was urgent when it was published. It’s not good enough to continue to kick this problem down the road and say it’s a problem for a future Government to address.

“A decision must be made. If the Minister for Education is unwilling or unable to address it, a new Ministry should be established. It is little wonder that Universities are despairing, there appears to be no help on the horizon”, concluded Deputy Byrne.