Friday, 30 April 2021
An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business
I would like to second Senator Dooley's proposed amendment.
I wish to raise the issue of third-level students. I welcome the announcement by the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Deputy Harris, that a working group will gather today to get a pathway and a plan to open up in September. It is essential that is done in June. Indeed, June is possibly a little too late. At the minute students would usually already be booking their accommodation for the next college year. We have seen how students all over the country paid for accommodation and fees for the last year and now they are potentially falling into the same trap again and not getting to enjoy campus life. I stress that this is a really important issue for over 250,000 students in our country. They need to get back to life, to fun, to enjoying their late teens and early 20s and to experiencing college and university life like most of us here did. I am talking about that carefree life of college, the college bar, creating friendships and all those experiences we cherish so much. That has been stopped for the past 12 months and it is urgent that those students get some clarity as soon as possible. Perhaps the Minister could bring it forward to early June. There are 30 days in June, as we were told during the week. The earlier in June the better.