Education is the one vehicle to create equality of opportunity and to achieve economic recovery” says Senator Joe O’Reilly

Senator Joe O’Reilly today called for an immediate and a detailed debate on education. This call came on the same day that 25,000 students stood outside the Oireachtas gates, appealing to the government not to follow through with their intention to almost double registration fees.

Senator O’Reilly attended the demonstration today and expressed his great empathy to some of the students facing the possibility of paying these colossal fees. Increasing registration fees is, according to Senator O’Reilly, the wrong way to go about raising funds. If Budget 2010 does bring this huge hike, Senator O’Reilly warns that “fees will act has a huge barrier to access to education. It will mean that education returns to the situation which existed when we were children, where it was the preserve of a certain class and group of people.”

The students of Ireland arrived at Leinster House in their droves, highlighting the huge number of people who will be affected by this proposed hike. Many families in Cavan and around the country are already in extraordinarily tight positions and they will simply not be able to meet a doubling in the registration fee.

Senator O’Reilly emphasised the two major issues that will arise if this hike is approved, “The first is the inequality and injustice of it, and the second is the great resource we will be missing when we seek to recover and grow our economy into the future.”

The administration of the university system is one possible area Senator O’Reilly suggests where savings could be made. There have even been notable and well-documented cases of excessive salaries at the top of the university pyramid, addressing these cases and making other administration cuts could result in vital savings.

Senator O’Reilly is adamant in his belief that though savings must be made, we cannot and must not prevent access to our brightest and best. A debate on education is essential to knock on the head immediately, the notion that a barrier to entry to college could be put in place.

Senator Joe O'Reilly representing Cavan & Monaghan 2010. | An ExSite website