Wary of Loans, but not Progressive Enough for State Funded, Varadkar Might Leave Education in Limbo

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Governance and administration on June 19th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“First came the hope, then the headaches. Even the weathered trade unionists and opposition politicians allowed themselves some optimism this week when Leo Varadkar announced the creation of a new ministerial position with responsibility for higher education. The ensuing furore over the creation of a new super junior ministry, however, has suggested some of this optimism might be misplaced …” (more)

[University Times, 18 June]

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FF to block Mary Mitchell O’Connor appointment as ‘super junior’

Posted in Governance and administration on June 16th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“Fianna Fáil will not support legislation to create a third super junior role for Mary Mitchell O’Connor. Ms O’Connor was appointed as a Minister of State with responsibility for higher education in Wednesday’s re-shuffle by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. The position will allow her to sit at the Cabinet table …” (more)

[Sarah Bardon, Irish Times, 16 June]

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New legislation required for Minister Mitchell O’Connor to receive extra €16k allowance

Posted in Governance and administration, Legal issues on June 16th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“New legislation will be required to allow Fine Gael TD Mary Mitchell O’Connor hold the role of super junior minister in Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s cabinet. Minister for Finance Pachal Donohoe confirmed that the legislation would be required …” (more)

[TheJournal.ie, 16 June]

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Cabinet Manoeuvres Make Mockery of Government Commitment to Higher Education – Byrne

Posted in Governance and administration on June 15th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Education and Skills Thomas Byrne TD says he is deeply disappointed in the manner in which Higher Education has been treated on the Taosieach’s first day in office. Deputy Byrne made the comments after it emerged the Taoiseach decided at the last minute to assign Deputy Mary Mitchell O’Connor as Minister of State with responsibility for Higher Education after she took issue with being offered the Equality and Law Reform portfolio …” (more)

[Fianna Fáil, 15 June]

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Bruton Returns and Mitchell O’Connor Given Third-Level Responsibility, as Funding Decisions Loom

Posted in Governance and administration on June 15th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“Richard Bruton has been reappointed Minister for Education and Skills in Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s cabinet, while Mary Mitchell O’Connor has been given responsibility for higher education – a move that has been welcomed by the higher education sector …” (more)

[Dominic McGrath and Kathleen McNamee, University Times, 14 June]

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Mitchell O’Connor biggest loser in reshuffle

Posted in Governance and administration on June 15th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“Former jobs minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor was the biggest loser in the new Taoiseach’s Cabinet. It emerged last night that Ms O’Connor was initially offered a super-junior minister position with responsibility for equality and law reform. However, she expressed concerns about the portfolio, forcing Mr Varadkar into a rethink. The Dún Laoghaire TD, who is a former primary school principal, was then given the option of a role in higher education …” (more)

[Cormac McQuinn, Independent, 15 June]

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Mary Mitchell O’Connor demoted in Leo Varadkar’s Cabinet

Posted in Governance and administration on June 15th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“Mary Mitchell O’Connor was the only casualty in Leo Varadkar’s Cabinet reshuffle following his appointment as Taoiseach on Wednesday. Eoghan Murphy, Regina Doherty and Michael Ring have been promoted to the senior ministerial ranks with Ms Mitchell O’Connor, who had been minister for enterprise, making way along with the outgoing Enda Kenny and Michael Noonan …” (more)

[Sarah Bardon, Irish Times, 14 June]

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€887m public sector pay deal won’t prevent tax cuts, says Varadkar

Posted in Governance and administration on June 9th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“There will still be money for tax cuts in the next Budget despite a public sector pay deal that will cost €180m next year, incoming Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said. Unions will begin balloting the country’s 250,000 public sector workers in the coming weeks on the proposals, which include regular pay increases until 2020 …” (more)

[Cormac McQuinn, Herald, 9 June]

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Leo Varadkar: Public sector pay deal means ‘it won’t be possible to do all we want in next budget’

Posted in Governance and administration on June 8th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“The incoming Taoiseach has welcomed plans to ballot public workers on a proposed new pay deal. However, Leo Varadkar has conceded that the costs of the new deal will reduce the amount available to spend elsewhere in the Budget …” (more)

[BreakingNews.ie, 8 June]

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Varadkar vows to block public sector from ‘pocketing’ all benefits of recovery

Posted in Governance and administration on November 7th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar has warned he will resist any attempt to cut social welfare spending in order to facilitate fresh pay demands by public sector workers …” (more)

[Niall O’Connor, Independent, 7 November]

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‘Far from perfect’ JobBridge scheme to be scrapped – Leo Varadkar

Posted in Governance and administration on October 19th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“JobBridge, the controversial internship scheme, will cease to accept new applicants from Friday. Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar has announced that he is to set-up a consultation process with a view to finding a replacement programme which will begin in the middle of next year …” (more)

[Kevin Doyle, Independent, 18 October]

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Job Bridge didn’t have enough checks to stop exploitation

Posted in Governance and administration on August 22nd, 2016 by steve

Ireland“Employers were able to hire Job Bridge staff without the Department of Social Protection validating that the intern position wasn’t replacing a real job, according to an internal audit. Nobody in the Department of Social Protection was routinely checking companies’ applications to hire interns under Job Bridge against recent redundancy payments made by these same applicant companies …” (more)

[Claire O’Sullivan, Irish Examiner, 22 August]

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Varadkar’s response on lone parent educational supports ‘disappointing’ – Brady

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on August 18th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“Sinn Féin spokesperson for Social Protection John Brady TD has said that Minister Varadkar’s long awaited response on lone parents and educational supports tells us nothing new …” (more)

[Sinn Féin, 17 August]

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TCDSU President Kieran McNulty calls on Minister Varadkar’s immediate reform of Back to Education Allowance Support

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on August 15th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“In an open letter, McNulty condemns the Department of Social Protection’s decision to declare homeless single mother and prospective TCD student Erica Fleming ineligible for the welfare support …” (more)

[Robyn Page-Cowman, Trinity News, 14 August]

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After Homeless Mother Refused Back to Education Allowance, New Calls to Review Education Grant Criteria

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on August 9th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“Students’ unions and homeless mother of one Erica Fleming students’ unions are calling on the government to address inconsistencies in education stipends after Fleming was denied the Back to Education Allowance following being offered a place in Trinity …” (more)

[Sinéad Baker, University Times, 9 August]

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Letter to Mr Leo Varadkar TD Minister for Social Protection

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on August 9th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“Dear Minister, We write with reference to the now well-publicised decision of your department to refuse the Back to Education Allowance (BTEA) to Erica Fleming, an unemployed, homeless single parent who is currently raising her daughter in a hotel …” (more)

[Union of Students in Ireland, 9 August]

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Lone parents’ access to education must be improved – Brady

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on August 8th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“Sinn Féin spokesperson for Social Protection John Brady TD has called on the Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar to reverse changes made by his predecessor Joan Burton TD that deny lone parents access to education …” (more)

[Sinn Féin, 8 August]

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Only 4,000 on JobBridge scheme

Posted in Governance and administration on June 3rd, 2016 by steve

Ireland“A comparatively small number of people participate in the JobBridge training programme that Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar plans to replace after the summer, official figures published yesterday show …” (more)

[Eamon Quinn, Irish Examiner, 3 June]

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JobBridge to be axed over ‘abuse by some firms’

Posted in Governance and administration on May 22nd, 2016 by steve

Ireland“Social protection minister Leo Varadkar is scrapping JobBridge – the controversial state-supported internship scheme for unemployed workers. Just two weeks into his new role, Mr Varadkar has decided to axe the social welfare scheme …” (more)

[Philip Ryan, Independent, 22 May]

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Public service workers set for €800 windfall each

Posted in Governance and administration on May 7th, 2015 by steve

Ireland“Public service workers are set to gain on average more than €800 each as part of the Government’s reversal of pay cuts. The Irish Times understands the Government will allocate around €250 million – and possibly up to €300 million – as part of a deal to partially restore pay levels for nearly 300,000 public servants … ” (more)

[Fiach Kelly and Martin Wall, Irish Times, 7 May]

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