Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Closure of College.

56.

asked the Minister for Education if, in view of the fact that one educational institution, the National College of Art, has been closed by his directive and another institution, University College, Dublin, faces imminent closure because of a dispute over the payment of fees, he will make a statement to the House as to what steps he is taking to ensure that the teaching of students in these two institutions will be maintained in this academic year, 1971-72.

As far as the National College of Art is concerned, this question has already been fully debated in the House.

As regards the situation at University College, Dublin, the matter of the fees to be required of students is one for the governing body of that institution. The Deputy will, no doubt, have read my statement which was published in the daily press of 23rd October, 1971, and in which I indicated that the Government were prepared to make additional funds available so as to make special provision in relation to fee increases in the case of grant holders and students in the higher fee faculties. The Government do not feel that the very heavy burden which grants to the university colleges are placing on the taxpayers should be further increased. This is a fact which the students who are benefiting directly from university education must accept as they must accept also that nothing is to be gained by disrupting the functioning of University College, Dublin. The acceptance of these facts will ensure that the teaching of the students will be maintained.

It is the same old story. It is useless to ask supplementaries.

In relation to the College of Art, will the Minister agree to receive representations that may be made to him regarding any proposals for agreed resumption of work on a basis that would ensure peaceful conditions there until such time as the Bill going through the House has been enacted and the new board established? If any constructive proposals can be prepared, will the Minister be prepared to receive such representations?

Certainly, I would be willing to receive any proposals.

I am not suggesting that there are proposals now.

I am not suggesting that I would accept any such proposals but I would agree to consider them.