Education Committee continue their examination of the future funding of higher education in Ireland

6 April 2017

At a private session of the Joint Committee on Education and Skills this week, the Committee continued their work on the findings of the Report of the Expert Group on Future Funding for Higher Education. The Committee will put forward their recommendations, by way of report to Government, once detailed deliberations have concluded.

Committee Chairperson, Fiona O’Loughlin TD, said “The Report of the Expert Group on Future Funding for Higher Education, chaired by Mr. Peter Cassell’s, is of fundamental importance to the future of education provision in the State. As a Committee we have already undertaken much work in examining the three options for consideration, namely ‘a pre-dominantly state-funded system, increased state funding with continuing upfront student fee or increased state funding with deferred payment of fees’, and are aware of the important decision faced by Minister Bruton and our role in this regard.”

“Our work, currently, is focused on reviewing evidence given at our public hearings, examining the merits of each option available and looking at what path best fits the needs of those on all sides of education provision. It is clear that decisions need to be taken, in terms of how we fund our higher education sector in order to protect and grow education provision but also, that to maintain the current system is not an option. As we move to the next stage of our consideration, much work is being done in collaboration with our own Library & Research Service in examining international best practice and it is hoped that we will reconvene public hearings on the issue at the beginning of May.”


Media Enquiries:

Liam O'Brien,
Houses of the Oireachtas,
Communications Unit,
Leinster House,
Dublin 2
P: +353 1 618 4484
M: +353 86 189 5098

Committee Membership:

Chairperson: Fiona O'Loughlin TD (Fianna Fáil)


Joan Burton (Labour)
Thomas Byrne (Fianna Fáil)
Ciaran Cannon (Fine Gael)
Jim Daly (Fine Gael)
Catherine Martin (Green Party)
Carol Nolan (Sinn Féin)


Maria Byrne (Fine Gael)
Robbie Gallagher (Fianna Fáil)
Trevor Ó'Clochartaigh (Sinn Féin)
Lynn Ruane (Independent)

Notes to the Editor:

1.    All Committee debates are available here.

2.    You can watch the public hearings of the Committee on the report at the following links:

Thursday, 10/11/2016
Prof. Ursula Kilkelly Head of College of Business and Law, University College Cork and Mr. Ned Costello Chief Executive of the Irish University Association. Institute of Technology Presidents and Prof. Tom Collins Interim CEO, Technological Higher Education Association Link

Thursday, 24/11/2016
Mr. Peter Cassells, Chair, Expert Group on Future Funding for Higher Education and Dr. Aedín Doris, NUI Maynooth, Prof.Michael Gilchrist, University College Dublin; Prof. John Boland, Trinity College Dublin; Mr. Patrick Lonergan, NUI Galway; Dr. Caroline McMullan, DCU Business School; Prof. Aislinn O'Donnell, NUI Maynooth; Dr. Michele O'Dwyer, University of Limerick and Dr. Niamh Hourigan, University College Cork
Link, Link, Link

Thursday, 08/12/2016
Ms. Annie Hoey President, Union of Students in Ireland; Mr. Kieran McNulty, President, Students Union, Trinity College Dublin; Ms. Jane M Hayes Nally, President, Irish Second Level Students Union; Dr. Mary Elizabeth Daly, President, Royal Irish Academy; Ms. Catherine McGuinness, Chair, Governing Authority, University College Dublin; and Ms. Catherine Day, Chair, Governing Authority, University College Cork
Mr. Tony Donohoe, Director of Education, IBEC; Ms. Patricia King, General Secretary, Irish Congress of Trade Unions; Michelle Murphy, Director, Social Justice Ireland; Mr. James Doorley, Deputy Director, National Youth Council of Ireland; Mr. Richard Kennedy, Deputy President, Irish Farmers Association; and Prof. Diarmuid Hegarty, Chair, Higher Education Colleges Association Link