Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Education Thomas Byrne TD says the financial review of Institutes of Technology carried out by the Higher Education Authority highlights the scale of the funding challenge facing the third level sector.

Deputy Byrne said, “This report gives us a real sense that Institutes of Technology are on their knees financially, after four years of devastating budget cuts and underspends by the previous Government. The review points out that there are immediate cash flow concerns at a number of Institutes of Technology.

“Institutes of Technology are the linchpin of the entire education system. 41% of the 210,000 higher level students are studying in Institutes of Technology. A significant number of these are from families with no history of third level education. These groups will be particularly affected if Institutes of Technology have to curtail any services or courses due to funding issues.

“I fear that Institutes of Technology are at a tipping point. Capital funding has fallen by approximately 49% since 2012 which has resulted in deteriorating infrastructure on campus. Furthermore overall funding per student fell over the same time frame by 25% despite the fact that student contribution charges rose steeply during the recession.

“Fianna Fáil has made it clear that the decline in funding for third level will have a detrimental impact on our society. Our General Election manifesto contained key measures aimed at increasing funding for higher level education, which will in turn raise standards and lead to increased economic activity.

“This report makes it clear Institutes of Technology require a programme of sustained long term investment to ensure they can continue to serve students. The Government needs to bring forward a plan of action to achieve this”, concluded Deputy Byrne.