Sharkey slams Labour over student fees

CLLR Tomas Sharkey has reiterated to this paper his call for Mininster Ruairí Quinn to withdraw his plans for an increase third level fees.

CLLR Tomas Sharkey has reiterated to this paper his call for Mininster Ruairí Quinn to withdraw his plans for an increase third level fees.

The increase in fees was one of the major sticking issues in last year’s budgets and the increase comes despite Minister Quinn’s pre-election promises that no increase in fees would occur.

At last month’s County Council meeting, a vote against third level fees was unanimously passed by Louth County Council.

This included two Labour Party councillors and eight Fine Gael councillors.

Speaking to the Dundalk Democrat this week Cllr Sharkey told the paper: “If the increase in fees goes ahead it will go against Mr Quinn’s party’s own grass roots.

“It is evidence of the continued dislocation between the Labour Party and the working people of Ireland.”

Cllr Tomas Sharkey noted that 80 per cent of students at DKIT were the first generation to go to third level education.

“Families who are sending their children to third level need to have several years in which to put aside money for their children, and a cut to the maintenance grant or increase to fees would massively curtail this.

“The Labour party first brought in no fees for third level and that has lead to a cultural revolution where a generation of young people who otherwise would not have been able to attend third level now can. If fees are increased it will destroy the great work done to make this possible.” As it stands student fees will rise by €250, bringing the annual change to €2,250, while maintenance grants will be cut by 3 per cent effective as of Sunday.