Local Labour TD uneasy with fee increase in budget

Labour Party TD, John Lyons, hopes the recent increase in the student contribution charge won’t prevent students in his constituency from accessing third-level education.

Speaking to The College View, the TD for Dublin North-West and Ballymun native said he does not believe increasing the charge is the best way forward as it won’t help increase participation at third-level. However, he said: “its unfortunately not sustainable to pay for third level in the way we’re paying for it now because the money just isn’t there”.

Lyons said the decision made by Government to increase the charge was “a tough one” and is “an area that doesn’t sit easily with me”. He said he is open to ideas for “creative and equitable ways” to fund third-level education so that as many people as possible can participate. The deputy was pleased to point out however, that “maintenance grants are still at the levels they were at”.

The TD is also proud of the success achieved by ‘DCU in the Community’ in bridging the gap between the university and  the local community in which it is situated. The mission of the initiative, based at Shangan Road, is ‘to increase participation levels and to promote equality in third-level education’.

According to Lyons: “DCU in the Community has become embedded within the community. I think a lot of people are availing of it and I’m always trying to advertise to people the services that they have there”.

Services delivered as part of the initiative include a Bridge to Higher Education course, a FETAC Level 5 Multimedia Course and Football Career Foundation Programmes. “There are so many fantastic things happening there in DCU in the Community that I would hate to ever see it not be there”, Lyons told The College View.

The Bridge to Higher Education course serves as a direct link between the Ballymun community and DCU campus. It prepares local residents who are considering starting a degree programme for what to expect when they start at university and lets students develop their personal and academic potential.

In keeping with the ideology of DCU in the Community, a seminar on the role of the university in the development of its region was held in DCU’s Albert College last Thursday.

Sarah Bermingham

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