Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Education and Skills Thomas Byrne TD says his party has played an important role in securing additional funding for the third level sector in Budget 2018, but has warned that much more funding will be needed in the years ahead.

Deputy Byrne made the comments after it was announced that an extra €47.5m is being allocated to third level education, something which Fianna Fáil has been pushing for in recent months.

Deputy Byrne said, “Ireland’s third-level education sector is under significant pressure, and the Cassells report has shown that the third-level sector will need over €1 billion in additional funding over the next decade. This change will provide an additional €47.5m next year, so it is hardly a panacea.

“Having a well-resourced education sector that is open to all is key to Ireland’s continued economic growth, and this is why Fianna Fáil has prioritized this in our Confidence and Supply Arrangement.

“As a party, we have been vocal on the need for increased exchequer investment in the educational sector, which we believe is the real solution to Ireland’s third level funding crisis. Securing additional funding streams is welcome, but it cannot come at the expense of general exchequer funding.

“While I support this decision, it does not eliminate the need for Minister Bruton and the rest of the Government to come out with a full plan for the future funding of tertiary education in this country. Piecemeal investments will not create nor support the type of forward-thinking, high-quality education sector that our sons, daughters and future generations need.”