Fianna Fáil Education Spokesperson Brendan Smith has called on Minister Ruairí Quinn to come clean about the burden he is putting on students.
Deputy Quinn commented, “In the last few days the media has been full of Ruairí Quinn giving other Ministers advice about what they should be doing. His time would be better spent giving a straight answer on why he has so quickly abandoned a clear pledge to students given days before the election.
“The facts show that over a period of over two years Ruairí Quinn targeted student votes with a pledge to reverse student charges. Four days before polling he signed a formal pledge to this effect at a specially convened press event. Less than three months later he has abandoned it and speculation grows that he is set to actually introduce new fees.
“Minister Quinn has been trying to blame everyone else for his decision, but the facts show that the new levy on personal pensions will give the government €200 million more than was planned on the day he signed his pledge to lower student charges.
“No one forced him to make his pledge and he cannot blame anyone else for his decision to abandon it.”
Deputy Smith concluded, “Instead of telling other Ministers to act more like him, he should take the time to admit that he signed this pledge as a vote-getting ploy and accept responsibility for the decision to abandon it.”