Sugar daddying on the rise in Ireland as
cash strapped students try avoid dropping out
of  college.
Sugar-daddying is a boom industry in Ireland as cash-strapped students prove they'll do anything to make ends meet and pay for college.

And it's not just women who stand to 'benefit' from the arrangement, according to this morning's Irish Examiner -- 'sugar mommying', whereby males offering their intimacy and friendship in exchange for financial sponsorship, is an increasingly lucrative industry for young college-going men too, with well-to-do Irish cougars easily to capitalize on toy boys' desire to stay in higher level, without having to take on dreary part-time jobs to do so.

The story has a familiar ring to it: last October I reported that prostitution was how students were making ends meet, while pole-dancing is a perennial vice-industry favourite of hard-strapped students. One UK night-venue owner recently made headlines by publicly encouraging students to dance at his club as an easy way of making money.

An Irish website quotes top brass at sugar-daddying web portal as saying that Ireland now 'boasts' the highest number of signed up sugar-daddying exchanges outside of the States -- and at 5,000 the figure is disconcertingly high for the relatively small college-going population here.

The website's owner even recounts how one 21 year old was paired off with an octogenarian millionaire, a sign of how ridiculous the 'matches' can be.

One Dublin graduate in her thirties was quoted demanding exorbitant sums in exchange for her 'companionship', which in the realm of sugar-daddying seems synonymous with intimacy, a price she was presumably able to command, given that her found sugar-daddy was a multi-milllionaire based comfortably close-by in the Dublin area. Others had similar stories to tell.

Perhaps what's more worrying than the idea of sugar-daddying taking off here is the numbers engaging in it. If there's already 5,000 registered members in Ireland (possibly a conservative tally of the overall total) we can expect that there will only be more joining the sugar-daddying ranks in months to come.

Donie O'Sullivan of University College Dublin's The College Tribune recently grabbed an exclusive from Union of Students Ireland (USI) president Gary Redmond that lifted the lid on a planned anti-fees march in the months ahead.

Worryingly it now seems as if €5,000  (approx. $6,800) is the latest figure on the cards for third level fees next year, and if passed in the next Budget this would almost certainly be far more than most Irish families are able to afford.

The march which the Union plans to mount against it will likely eclipse last year's one in Dublin which saw allegations of police brutality against protesting students, amid concern at the time that the increases in that Budget would be more severe than what they amounted to.

And if the fees-hike is given the green light come Budget-time, it's a fair bet that increasing numbers of students will be seeking out avenues like sugar-daddying as a last-ditch means of avoiding dropping out of the system altogether.