'Non-national' tells of struggle to pay college fees
Published 22/02/2011 | 05:00
HER parents are Irish citizens and she has lived here for over 10 years.
But Cate Gatharia is deemed to be a "non-national" and therefore is forced to pay crippling college fees.
The 25-year-old has repeatedly struggled to find fees of as much as €10,000 a year because she has to pay international fees.
This is despite the fact she arrived here from Kenya a decade ago to join her parents, who both hold Irish citizenship. "My parents are Irish, I have lived here for over 10 years, so why should I have to pay international fees?" Ms Gatharia asked a conference yesterday.
Her parents were granted citizenship after she turned 18.
She must, therefore, apply for citizenship in her own right -- and even if she gets it, she will continue to be viewed as a non-national student because she entered third-level education as a non-citizen.
Ms Gatharia's plight and that of hundreds of other children from migrant families was highlighted yesterday by the Immigrant Council of Ireland, which appealed for support.
The seminar, 'Inclusion of Migrants and Beyond -- Lessons Learnt from Old Countries of Immigration', featured testimonies from the children of migrants on the difficulties in accessing third-level education despite having high grades.
"We need to make investments that will ensure these children are facilitated to contribute," said the council's chief executive, Denise Charlton.