Carol Nolan TD
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Education and Skills, Teachta Carol Nolan, has said that students should not be forced to pay for the results of the economic crash caused by the policies pursued by Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Labour.
Teachta Nolan was speaking after attending a demonstration outside Leinster House by thousands of students from across the state last week.
Teachta Nolan said, “our students currently pay the second highest rate of fees in the EU and research indicates that many are forced into poverty as a result.
“Sinn Féin does not support placing a higher burden on lower and middle income households through the introduction of student loans.
“The economic policies pursued by Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Labour have meant that there has been a huge decrease in funding for third level, which has now reached crisis point.
Deputy Nolan said that young people are the future and they should not be forced to pay for the mistakes of the past.
“Lumbering students with a mortgage type loan would be extremely unfair and would have an adverse impact on students and their families There is clear evidence from other jurisdictions that the introduction of loans has failed miserably and has impacted on the most disadvantaged.
Deputy Nolan stated that she believed the introduction of student loans would not address the immediate need for funding as it would take years to establish and would cost the state a significant sum.
“Furthermore, student loans may effectively force graduates to emigrate when they complete their studies in an attempt to avoid huge levels of debt.
“Sinn Féin is committed to ensuring that our third level education system is funded and we have put forward a €120 million package in our alternative budget that would help address the immediate needs of the sector.”