Students at Trinity occupy buildings in resit fees protest
Trinity College students have stepped up their protest to the introduction of a €450 charge to resit exams.
Students at the renowned Dublin university yesterday occupied the dining hall to protest at the proposed fee for people who fail exams.
Yesterday was the third day of protest over the issue: students had previously blocked access to the Book of Kells and blockaded entrances to the university.
The college's Students' Union has called for the measure to be reversed. However, the Vice Provost of the university, Chris Morash, insisted the charge has been introduced to help make the system fairer for students.
Mr Morash said that although 17,000 students who fail an exam will pay to take the test again, another 250 students will pay less for repeating a year.
However, the university's Students' Union has branded the fee "unjust".
The 'Take Back Trinity' campaign has called for no further increases to student fees in any form and has also condemned fee hikes for postgraduate students and international students.
Fianna Fáil's Education spokesperson Thomas Byrne TD called on Education Minister Richard Bruton to address the issue.
He said students should not be charged an "exorbitant" charge to resit exams.
Mr Byrne added: "Trinity College Dublin is planning to introduce a €450 flat fee for those who resit examinations.
"This means that students who fail just one examination will be forced to shell out an exorbitant amount of money to allow them progress with their degrees.
"This approach differs to other universities, which have a more modest fee per repeat examination.
"Minister Bruton needs to set out his view on this matter.
"I have concerns that the approach taken by TCD could be testing the waters for other universities to follow suit.
"It's not acceptable that students who fail just one exam are being hit with punitive repeat fees."
Green Party Education spokesperson Catherine Martin said this is the latest attempt by third-level institutions to "extract money" from students.
She said: "The Government must finally confront the issue of third-level funding.
"In the absence of proper funding to the institutions, students are the ones being squeezed again and again. The Government's hands-off approach is not working."