Written answers

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Department of Education and Skills

Brexit Issues

Photo of Thomas ByrneThomas Byrne (Meath East, Fianna Fail)
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100. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if he will provide an update on meetings he or his officials have had with counterparts in other EU states with regard to the impact of Brexit on third level fees that would be charged to Irish or other EU citizens studying in the UK. [8856/17]

Photo of Richard BrutonRichard Bruton (Dublin Bay North, Fine Gael)
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I have had meetings in recent months with the EU Commissioner for Education and other EU Ministers and officials at which a wide range of Brexit-related issues, though not specifically student fees, were discussed.

My Department's Secretary General attended the UK/Ireland Permanent Secretary/Secretary General Summit in London in October 2016 at which he and his UK counterpart considered the implications of Brexit for our respective education systems including possible impacts on Ireland/UK student and academic flows and third level student fees and supports.  

Both I and the UK Secretary of State for Education have communicated on matters of shared concern including the likely implications of Brexit for research collaboration; student access to higher education, and student fees. We have agreed to take forward our consideration of these issues at a meeting to take place in the very near future. I had previously discussed a similar agenda with my counterpart in the Northern Ireland Executive on the margins of the North South Ministerial Council meeting in July 2016.

In advance of my proposal to meet with the Secretary of State, my officials will meet with their UK counterparts shortly to follow up on the Secretary Generals' meeting and to discuss common issues in the education sector in light of Brexit.

As part of the Government's overall preparations for Brexit, Ministers will continue to meet and engage with their EU counterparts over coming weeks to emphasise Ireland’s concerns and to ensure that they are fully reflected in the EU position once negotiations commence.  

This activity is reinforced by extensive engagement at diplomatic and official level.  The Government is acutely aware of the potential risks and challenges for the Irish economy and will remain fully engaged on this aspect as the negotiations proceed.  An important part of our preparations for the Brexit negotiations is ensuring that our particular concerns are heard and understood across Europe, and engagement with our EU partners and with the EU institutions is therefore critical.

Ireland will be part of the EU 27 team and looks forward to working with our fellow Member States in delivering the best possible result for Ireland and for the EU in the Brexit negotiations.


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