Commenting on a European Commission study which shows that Irish third-level students pay the second-highest college fees in Europe, Councillor Gary Gannon, the Social Democrats’ Spokesperson on Education Equality and Access said:

“Ireland is clearly at the bottom of the class in Europe when it comes to college fees for undergraduate students. Our undergraduate students are charged fees of €3,000 per year while this study shows that their counterparts in 24 systems charge either no fees at all or less than €1,000 per year.

“These comparisons with other European countries show just how uneven the playing field is here for young people who want to further their education.  As well as fees, our college students also have to contend with the low SUSI thresholds and student living costs.

“These costs combined are insurmountable barriers for a huge range of young people who have the talent, skills and ambition to continue to third level.

“If we are to build an economy and society that is fair and that enables people to access the opportunities that are available, then the negligence of the Government in continuing to ignore third level access costs is unforgivable.”

ENDS