GOVERNMENT funding for UCD is to be cut by €11 million according to new estimates released late last week. It is estimated that the grant UCD receives from the Government will drop from €136 million to €128 million.
General Secretary of the Irish Federation of University Teachers (IFUT) Mike Jennings has reacted angrily to these further cutbacks to the higher-education sector. He questioned the logic of the Government in trying to curb the damage to the economy caused by the recession by restricting funding available to third-level education.
“I can’t understand where the Government is coming from. Right from the beginning of the current crisis, the Government repeatedly said that two areas of Irish life would not be affected and that was education and health and at every turn on the road, they have reneged on that commitment and it makes absolutely no sense,” argued Mr Jennings.
He continued, “Every economist or political commentator worth their salt will tell you that, for any country, the only way to get themselves out of a recessionary hole is to through the education system. It’s absolutely short-sighted and it’s politically dishonest.”
Mr Jennings argued that the Government does not have students’ best interests at heart with these cutbacks saying, “this Government only sees students as a possible source of finance in the future, they don’t have empathy for students; they don’t understand the demands of higher education and they certainly don’t understand the merits of higher education. The only time this Minister talks of education is when he threatens to make students pay €5000 for the pleasure of being there.” Mr Jennings also called this move “dispiriting” for university staff.
Other third-level institutes have also had a reduction in Government funding. The grant given to Trinity College Dublin (TCD) is reduced from €101 million to €93 million. The National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG) will endure a cut of €4 million to bring funding to €75 million while University College Cork (UCC)’s grant is cut from €90 million to €85 million.
National University of Ireland Maynooth will lose €1 million; the University of Limerick (UL)’s funding is reduced to €57 million from 63 million and DCU face cutbacks of €6 million.
These cutbacks come after President of UCD, Dr Hugh Brady expressed his concerns about funding in the university earlier this year. In a meeting with UCD staff, he announced that the university would be €20 million in debt if serious revision of spending was not undertaken.