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Union of Students in Ireland demonstration next to the famine memorial in Dublin Photo by: USI

Government forcing emigration with college cuts warns Students Union

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Union of Students in Ireland demonstration next to the famine memorial in Dublin Photo by: USI

Thousands of Ireland’s finest young brains will be forced to emigrate if the Government cuts all grants to postgraduate students in next month’s budget.

That’s the grim warning from the Union of Students in Ireland after the Department of Education failed to deny weekend reports that such cuts are on the cards for new postgraduates from next year on.

USI president Gary Redmond said: “I am dismayed and shocked at the proposal. There is not even any pretence at fairness in this proposal.

“A student, no matter how talented, would not be able to continue in education any further than their own financial resources would permit”

Redmond’s union will hold a national protest against education cuts in Dublin on Wednesday.

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He added: “The programme for government promises a surgeon’s scalpel would be taken to waste and inefficiency in higher education. Instead, a butcher’s cleaver appears to have been taken to student supports such as the maintenance grant.

“USI is urging every Government backbench TD who less than a year ago asked students and families for their votes in exchange for a promise to protect education, to publicly call on the Minister for Education and Skills to withdraw this proposal from consideration.”

The Student boss also said that an undergraduate degree is no longer enough to gain employment in many professions.

“Families who are not in a position to pay fees for postgraduate courses and pay for other associated costs would find it impossible for their children to progress to postgraduate courses,” he told the Irish Times.
 
“The number of students able to progress to Master’s and PhD level would plummet, and some of the most talented young people would be forced to emigrate, to work or to further their education elsewhere.

“The measure is short-sighted. Investing in education is vital to building long-term, sustainable economic development. This Government, and its predecessor, have spoken at length about the need to build a knowledge economy, the value of education and the need for Ireland to increase its RD capacity.

“This proposal would mean higher education in Ireland would return to being the preserve of the wealthy elite. The Minister simply must reconsider this proposal.”

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