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We would like to wish Minister Richard Bruton well in his new role.

The third level education funding crisis will be the real test for any new Minister in the Department of Education and Skills, and we look forward to working collaboratively and proactively with Deputy McHugh.

Minister McHugh’s appointment comes in the aftermath of Budget 2019, which commited a grossly inadequate level of investment in a system our future depends on, and did nothing to assist students in financial distress, or students who have been locked out of education due to a lack of accommodation.

There has been a 2% increase in the number of students attending third level year on year, at the same time there has been a managed decline in state investment. What was a response to a recession is not acceptable as a way forward for a higher education system which we need to support student success, promote access, and produce top quality graduates.

The system is underfunded and students face the burden – at €3,000 per annum, students are already paying the second highest fees in Europe.

It’s clear the government must act, and invest meaningfully in the present and the future of this country before it’s too late.

Síona Cahill

President

Union of Students in Ireland

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