Something lost in the mix
UPWARD social mobility is still far from guaranteed in Ireland. A study by Dr Selina McCoy and Dr Emer Smyth of the Economic and Social Research Institute shows that young people from higher professional backgrounds are at least six times likelier to go to university than those from unskilled or semi-skilled backgrounds.
And the children of "higher professionals" are 3.8 times more likely to go to university than their contemporaries from manual backgrounds who have performed equally well in the Leaving Certificate.
What verdict, then, on the effects in terms of social class from the abolition of tuition fees in 1996? The evidence from this study suggests that, contrary to the normal assumption, the middle classes did not benefit most.