Fianna Fáil Education Spokesperson Brendan Smith has expressed dismay at reports that the Government plans to stop awarding grants to students intending to pursue Higher Diplomas, Post Grad Diplomas, Masters or PhDs. This follows news that the Government is also set to scale back investment in the research and development sector.
Deputy Smith said: “The level of broken promises from this Government in relation to the education sector alone is quite incredible. Fine Gael and Labour are systematically breaking every single pledge they made to students before taking up office. It is clear now that far from prioritising education as they claimed they would, Fine Gael and Labour are actively making it significantly more difficult for young people and graduates to access further education.
“This Government talks about creating jobs, but they appear to have missed one key fact about our economy – namely, it is through improving educational standards and investing in research and fourth level education that successive Fianna Fáil governments built our enormously successful export economy. Removing supports for post graduate study and cutting research investment undermines the very foundations of that part of our economy.
“There is also an issue of equality here. While the wealthy and the privileged will be unaffected by the removal of post grad support, those who rely on it to allow them continue their studies are being sacrificed. The contrast between Labour in Opposition and Labour in Power could not be starker or more cynical.”