Irish dump fees plan to avert split

The Irish government has been forced to ditch plans to bring back tuition fees. Instead, it will invest more in schemes to help students from lower socioeconomic groups get into higher education.

The climbdown came at the weekend when it became clear the issue could cause the coalition government to collapse. The minority Progressive Democrats party strongly opposed the return of fees, abolished in 1996.

Education minister Noel Dempsey of the larger Fianna Fail party initially held his ground, insisting that he wanted the rich to pay fees to create funds for schemes for the disadvantaged.

After a week of political tension and student protest, a compromise was cobbled together that gets the government off the hook. Mr Dempsey will get extra funding this year from "savings" in a department run, ironically, by the Progressive Democrats.

The minister said he still believed the rich should pay but was satisfied he now had money from elsewhere to further his agenda.

Already registered?

Sign in now if you are already registered or a current subscriber. Or subscribe for unrestricted access to our digital editions and iPad and iPhone app.

Register to continue  

You've enjoyed reading five THE articles this month. Register now to get five more, or subscribe for unrestricted access.

Most Commented

  • Elly Walton illustration (16 July 2015)

Whether in jest or not, sexist language shows an insensitivity to gender issues at odds with academic values, argues Dorothy Bishop

  • Tony Little, Eton College headmaster, 2007

Tony Little points to ‘increasing gap’ between teaching standards at sixth form and university

Matthew Reisz looks for the value in dull pictures of long-forgotten vice-chancellors

  • Tourists in rubber rings and flippers ready for snorkeling class

Dress to impress if you want students in your corner, claims US study