Fee’s or no Fee’s, my views.

I have been inundated in recent weeks with requests for clarity on the issue of Student Fees. This particular matter is a decision for the Minister for Education in consultation with the entire cabinet. To this end I will have no direct input in to the decision making process other than an opportunity to have my voice and views heard at appropriate opportunities such as Parliamentary Party meetings and as a member of the Internal Education Committee. In the interest of clarity, I will be voting in accordance with the agreed position and consensus of the Government parties on this issue as membership of any political grouping demands.
I share the same desire as every other Parent in this state to have free education for my Children. This desire has to be tempered with reality when taken in the context of the Irish Economy in 2011. The budgetary deficit this year will be 18 thousand million euro i.e the gap between taxes raised and the cost of the current level of services provided by the Irish Government is 18 billion euro.
I believe there are many people who can afford to pay the Student Fees in Colleges in Ireland. Any increase in Registration fees must be accompanied by similar increases in supports for lower income families to ensure education is for everyone irrespective of means. I believe it is irresponsible for anyone to expect free education for everyone in third level until such time as Ireland’s economy improves and we return to budgetary surpluses.
I personally did not promise anyone that there would be no increase in College fees prior to my election and I do not condone the actions of anyone who did make such unrealistic promises. Politics is the poorer as a result of such actions.