Return of third-level fees to face legal challenge

Ireland“Government plans to introduce new third-level charges will face a legal challenge, the Irish Independent can reveal. Education Minister Batt O’Keeffe plans to end free third-level education from 2010. However, this year’s Leaving Cert students will also be affected. He says they will not be exempt and will be required to pay a contribution from next year onwards. But top legal advice obtained by the Union of Students in Ireland says charging up to 40,000 students who enrol in September would be illegal. ‘The advice states clearly that students who have already applied for and accepted a place this coming September are deemed to be doing so under the existing free-fees policy’ said USI president Shane Kelly. ‘We will take legal action if necessary to ensure that students enrolling in September will not be penalised …’” (more)

[John Walshe and Fionnan Sheahan, Independent, 21 March]

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