Fianna Fáil Spokesperson for Education Thomas Byrne TD says Budget 2017 represents a step in the right direction for investment in third level education. Deputy Byrne added that further investment is needed to meet demographic demands.

Deputy Byrne said, “Third level institutions suffered enormous cutbacks under the previous Fine Gael led Government. This had a direct impact on our competitiveness and led to third level institutions tumbling down the international rankings.

“Fianna Fáil made a commitment to increase investment in third level in our election manifesto. This remains a cornerstone of our education policy. After the election we moved to ensure that increased third level investment was a key priority in the Confidence and Supply Arrangement.

“The increase in third level investment in Budget 2017 is a welcome development, but further work is clearly needed. Fianna Fáil has forced the Government to change direction with its third level funding policy, and we are now in a position to undo the damage caused by the previous Fine Gael led Government.

“Fianna Fáil has managed to place third level funding on the agenda once again, and adequately resourcing the education system remains a key priority for us. The progress made today needs to be built on in the months ahead. I have concerns surrounding the lack of ring-fenced funding for long term capital development, and this is something which I will be raising with Minister Bruton,” said Deputy Byrne.