16 December 2015
By Bryan Smyth
Speaking today during the debate on the Technological Universities Bill, Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson Deputy Jonathan O’Brien said that his party were giving qualified support for the Bill to allow it to proceed, but wanted to see major changes for that support to continue.
The Cork North Central TD said;
“Sinn Féin has had a long standing position of support for the introduction of Technological Universities in Ireland.
“That is not to say that this is a position of unqualified support, but we are broadly supportive of the concept and of having legislation to allow the development of Technological Universities to proceed.
“We have major concerns about the legislation in its current form based on the implications that there are for compulsory mergers with no prospect of securing TU status; the risks for pay and pensions of staff; and the decrease in representations for staff and students on the governing bodies.
“The third level sector has suffered chronic underfunding over the past number of years, losing a third of funding and seeing a third of an increase in students, so many see this Bill as not being of academic value, but an exercise in cost-cutting.
“You cannot educate students on a shoe string and we will be tabling amendments at Committee stage to have all of these matters rectified.” ENDS