Fianna Fáil Education Spokesperson Brendan Smith has called on the Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn to clarify his agenda regarding the re-introduction of third level fees.
Deputy Smith was commenting after Minister Quinn again refused to rule out introducing third level fees during an interview on RTE’s News at One today, Wednesday 17 August 2011.
Deputy Smith said: “Minister Quinn has been strategically preparing the ground for a spectacular u-turn on third level fees since the day he set foot in the Department of Education. This is despite his personal pledge just days before the election to cut the student registration fee and to oppose all attempts to reintroduce third level fees. He did this in the full knowledge of the fiscal situation. Since then, the public finances have been on track and €1billion a year less is required for interest payments. In this context, there is no excuse for the complete reversal of Minister Quinn position and that of his Labour Party colleagues.
“The Minister’s comments in relation to third level fees and a student loan scheme this week have caused further concern and confusion among students and their families who are budgeting for third level education. I am calling on Minister Quinn to immediately publish details for alternative models to up-front fees. In particular, he should publish the detailed basis for his claim that a loan scheme could not be afforded,” concluded Deputy Smith.