Tuesday 20 February 2018

Degree of comfort for families with more than one student in college

John Walshe

FAMILIES with more than one child in college will get get a small crumb of comfort in today’s Budget.

It will confirm that the registration charges will go up from €1,500 at present to €2,000 from next September, but the increase will only apply to the first child in college.

If there is more than one child in college at the same time, the second and subsequent children will pay the existing charge of €1,500 each.

Credit for the change was claimed yesterday morning by independent TD Jackie Healy- Rae on local radio. But government sources were reluctant to admit the concession was due to demands from the Kerry TD and from Tipperary North TD Michael Lowry in return for their votes on the Budget today.

They said there had been ongoing discussions with the Union of Students in Ireland (USI), the Irish Universities Association and the Institutes of Technology of Ireland about the arrangements.

“Both the Tanaiste Mary Coughlan and the Government are conscious of the combined impact of budget measures on families and, in particular, on the impact that the increased student contribution will have,” said a spokesman for the Tanaiste.

But the Irish Independent understands that USI has been lobbying the two independent TDs over the past few days to seek changes. It is known that the original plan was to double the charge from €1,500 to €3,000.

Mr Healy-Rae told Radio Kerry that “myself and Michael Lowry are fighting a very hard case on” student charges.

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