News & Media

FF position on student loans problematic

18 July 2019

Statement by Senator Aodhán Ó Ríordáin
Spokesperson on Education and Skills, Gaeilge and the Gaeltacht

Labour Party Education spokesperson, Aodhán Ó Ríordáin has criticised the Fianna Fáil Leader’s position on student loans.

Senator Ó Ríordáin said:

“After over three years of humming and hawing, the leader of Fianna Fáil has said his Party would consider implementing student loans if in Government.

“This shows appallingly poor judgement by Deputy Martin. Student loans are a regressive and ill thought out proposition. Student loans have not worked in the USA, Australia or the UK, where they have saddled students with debt and discouraged people from studying at third-level.

“It is pertinent that politicians who hope to lead any Government reject any move to implement an income contingent loan scheme to fund third level education; and adopt a policy of ending college fees, and implement a truly publicly funded higher education system in Ireland.

"We in the Labour Party have made no secret about the fact that we believe it is time for college fees to go. Since the publication of the Cassells Report, we have argued against student loans.

“We know that employers benefit from a well-educated workforce and they should contribute just a little more towards the National Training Fund. The state should contribute a good bit more.

“My generation of students in the 1990s benefitted from Labour's belief in free education, it is time for a whole new generation to benefit in this way too.

"Labour's plan for full and equal access to higher education should become a reality in Ireland."