The decision to reduce third level funding will damage the quality of education at third level and have a detrimental effect on long term economic prospects, according to Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Education Charlie McConalogue TD.

Deputy McConalogue commented, “Cutting funding to higher education will put universities and colleges under great pressure and will likely lead to redundancies. This will clearly impact on teaching and quality standards and students’ education will suffer.

“The Minister gave a straightforward commitment last year that the €25 million cut would be a one-off. However he has broken yet another promise for 2014 and doubled down on the cut.  Of course it’s not the first time he’s broken promises on third level.  Minister Quinn has already increased the student registration fee twice and is now planning to hit students with another €250 hike from autumn next year.

“As a result of today’s budget, those on state-registered apprenticeship schemes attending institutes of technology will now be forced to pay a €540 student contribution fee which was previously covered by the state. This flies in the face of government claims that it wants to encourage young people into training. 

“Ruairí Quinn has been an enormous let down as Minister with responsibility for third level education.  The sector has come under sustained attack under his leadership and unfortunately that attack continued with Budget 2014 today.”